Skip to main content

Full text of "Spencerian key to practical penmanship"

See other formats







Cornell University Library 
Z43 .S84 

Spencerian key to Practical penmanship / 


3 1924 029 485 467 

Date Due 

OCI^s^ssTm p 




oEe— ^ 



ms4tf ^ 

m^^77 MR 


\ '79 3E 



NO. Z3233 

Cornell University 

The original of tliis book is in 
tlie Cornell University Library. 

There are no known copyright restrictions in 
the United States on the use of the text. 


IFlAlEf KBAL l>iii&iSI!ir, 


' One ink-drop on a solitary thought 
Hath moved the mind of millions." 





P. B. SPENOEB, Jr., 
M. D. L. HAYES. 






:^ 1 4- 

Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1866, by; 


In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States for the 

Southern District of New Tork, 

Smith ^ McDohqal, Electrotypers, 82 & 84 Beekman St., N. T. 


Paeents, teachers, and lovers of the art of writmg, 
we submit this little volume to you and to the public 
generally, asking indulgence for its errors, and a gen- 
erous consideration of its merits. 
















§ 1. FoKM3 OF Shall Letters ; containing 

Definitions 40 

Measurement of Letters 4-1 

Ovals 42 

Description of Principles of Small Letters 43 

Description, Formation, Analysis, and Faults of Letters 44 

§ 2. FosMS OF Capital Lettekb; containing 

Description of Capital Principles 60 

Description and Analysis of Capital Letters. 62 











«HAi>ma • °" 













Signals for Commencing an Exercise 116 

Signals for Closing an Exercise 116 

Another Method 116 

Special Lesaone 119 

Slanting Straight Line or First Principle 119 

Examination of Copies 124 

Small Letter i 126 

Small Letter h '. 126 

Capital O 126 

Capital A 127 

Merit Rolls 129 



cotrariNa and dictation 131 





IndiTidual Instruction j^gg 

Class Instruction jgi. 

Exercises in Movements ]^38 

Copies 138 

Copy Books and Loose Paper 189 

Commercial Correspondence 139 

Order. 141 











Engeaved Likeness of P. E. Spencee Frmdispkce. 

Engeaved Note in Ladies' Hand To face 9 

Left Position at Desk Page 25 

Eight Position at Desk " 29 

Feont Position at Desk " 33 

Movement Exeecisbs To face 35 

Plate of Spbnoeeian Medium Hand " 39 

Plate op Spenoeeian Ladies' Hand .*..... " 94 

Variety of Spenoeeian Capitals " 102 

Spenoeeian Whole Aem Capitals " 106 



Neaelt fifty years ago, in the wilds of the Great West, " a 
youth to fortune and to fame unknown," but who was conscious 
of his powers, made the sublime resolution to rescue from its 
undeserved obscurity the practical Art of "Writing. He seems to 
have been expressly created for the high commission which he 
was called upon to execute ; for his organization was almost fem- 
ininely fine and subtle, his temperament was strongly poetic, his 
love for the beautiful, whether in Nature or Art, amounted to 
an ecstatic passion, and his whole nature was emotional and 

There existed in the magnetic brain of this unassuming but 
enthusiastic youth, an idea of graceful lines, and curves, and 
characters, which, combined with a proper regard to symmetry, 
utility, and general beauty, would ^.t once embody his darling 
idea, and glorify the art which he so devoutly desired to serve. 
And so he wrought, patiently and persistently, until at length, 
the representations of his hand were as pure- and chaste and 
beautiful as the peerless conceptions of his mind. Not one of 
aU the multitudes who were astonished at his earlier triumphs, 
knew that what they so admired were, in their most attractive fea- 
tures, the faithful type of his sweet and gentle spirit whose master 
hand had wrought them out ; nor could the most sanguine of 
them have formed any adequate conception of his future fame 
among the thousands and tens of thousands who have since been 
charmed by the pictures of his pen. 

The young man whose early history is thus briefiy told was 
Piatt E. Spencer, the originator and author of the Spencerian 



System of Practical Penmanship — a system whose superiority is 

ixniversally recognized, and whose benefits are universally sought. 

Within the last year, Mr. Spencer has been called to his rest, 

" Mourned by more hearts than when a monarch dies." 

We now present his invaluable " System" to the public, en- 
riched by all the various improvements suggested by himself,- 
previous to his death. 

The following tribute to the memory of Mr. Spencer was 
written by J. W. Eddy, one of Ms old pupUs : 

But one star has set, its night is all past, 

And its glory has paled in the morning at last I 

Its ray was the full, serene splendor of light, 

And the morning stars wept when it fled from the night. 

A tribute of justice demands that my song 

Should linger in cadences loving and long. 

To tell of the deeds a high genius has done ; 

To honor the conquest a hero has won; 

To name o'er the actions that cluster and shine, 

A sacred Shekinah o'er memory's shrine. 

With loftiest endeavor and purposes high. 
With soul full of courage, he dared to defy 
The scorn of the servile, the slight of the proud, 
Contented to read, like a cross on the cloud. 
The sign that is set In the heavens for those 
Who valiantly, fearlessly, grapple their foes, 
When Ignorance, Error, and Folly oppose. 

When Merit, at last, shall to utterance be driven, 
And honors befitting his deeds shall be given. 
The people shall fill up the nation's great censer. 
And burn a sweet incense to the memory of Spencer. 

We cannot forbear mentioning here, another warm-hearted 
friend of education — The Honorable Victor M. Rice, Superin- 
tendent of Public Instruction of the State of New York, who 
was associated with Mr. Spencer in the maiden publication of 
the Spencerian System, in the year 1848. It is with a feeling of 
reverence and affection for both that we thus unite their honored 


Nor should we omit to recognize, in this connection, the late 
James W. Lusk, the faithful friend of Mr. Spencer, and hie ener- 
getic and devoted co-worker. In the later years of the " System," 
Mr. Lusk materially aided in its revision and publication. Both 
author and pupil lived sufficiently long to receive a just but flat- 
tering reward for their labors in a well-nigh universal recognition 
of the value of their services. 

The success of the " System" furnishes the true criterion of its 
merits ; yet the circumstances in which we present it to the pub- 
lic render it proper that we should briefly allude to some of the 
features which mark it as peculiarly " Spencerian." 

These are : 

FiEST. — In its Movements. The teachers of the system have 
always inculcated a free motion of the hand and arm, as the only 
sure method of acquiring ease, legibility, and rapidity of exe- 

Second. — In the Small Number and in the Arrangement of 
its Principles. These are limited to eight, forming, in various 
combinations, all written letters. 

Third. — In the Slant. This is at an angle of fifty-two degrees. 
Long experience and observation have proven, that this slant is 
the best adapted to rapid and elegant penmanship. 

FoTiBTH. — In the Curves of the Small Letters. These are 
gentle and flowing, forming the most easy and legible combina- 
tions in letters and words. 

Fifth. — In the Ovals of the Capitals. These are bold, free, 
and beautiful, giving to the letters firmness and symmetry. 

Sixth. — In the great variety of practical and leautiful capi- 
tal letters. 

This has ever been deemed one of the most attractive features 
in the Spencerian System. 

The diverse tastes existing in different minds here find abund- 
ant material from which to select that which they approve. Thus, 
from this variety is derived a style, which, though essentially the 
Spencerian, is stamped with the individuality of the writer. 

Seventh. — In the shadvng. The natural as well as artistic 
distribution of L'ght and shade upon the letters in the Spencerian 
writing is, indeed, one of its most prominent claims to originality. 


The classification of letters, rules for spacing, scales for pro- 
portionate length, and various other points, also belong to our 
general plan, and wiU receive a due share of attention' in their 
appropriate places. 

The system marked by these characteristic features is not only 
highly practical in its workings, but it also furnishes material for 
an almost inexhaustible variety of beautiful forms and combina-. 
tions, rendering its study attractive to both young and old, and 
inspiring a love for its practice which results in accomplished 



The theory wMch explains and limits the practice of Pen- 
manship, and at the same time serves as a suitable measure of 
attainment in the art, is exceedingly simple. Its primary feature 
is that with the penman, as with the painter and the sculptor, 
there must ever be as the indispensable condition of any eminent 
success, a clear and vivid perception of those forms and combi- 
nations which he undertakes to reproduce in the exercise of his 
art. In other words, he must have a definite ideal. 

This, indeed, is what takes Penmanship quite out of the circle 
of arts merely mechanical. This gives it dignity as an intellec- 
tual pursuit. This imparts to its prosecution something of that 
generous impulse that inspires the votaries of the other arts. It 
matters not, indeed, for all ordinary purposes, whether the pen- 
man's ideal or model be an original conception or something 
generated in the brain of another. Whatever its origin, how-' 
ever, it must be as clear to his own mind as if a creature of his 
own imagination. This is an essential preliminary ; for every 
defect of conception will show a corresponding defect of execu- 
tion. Penmanship, thus regarded, immediately takes rank among 
the finest of educational agencies. It puts into full requisition 
all the higher powers of the mind. Under this impulse the fac- 
ulty of perception is called into vigorous exercise, memory is 
made more tenacious of its treasures, judgment is at work in de- 
termining relations, proportions, and distance ; while taste, ever 
alive to the forms of beauty, whether in nature or in art, is busy 
with all those nicer discriminations of shade, color, outline, and 
finish which awaken so powerfully the sense of pleasure. 

No education, therefore, we venture to affirm, can be consid- 



ered complete wMcli does not include a knowledge of this art, 
both theoretical and practical. Theoretical, we say, as well as 
practical ; for any course or system of instruction in the art that 
barely furnishes copies for imitation, without revealing the prin- 
ciples that enter into their composition, fails utterly to meet the 
mental requirements of more than about five in a hundred of 
those for whose use or benefit it is professedly intended. 

How could this be otherwise ? The vast majority of persons, 
it is well known, are naturally so deficient in the power of imi- 
tation, that any attempt to make them skillfdl penmen without 
resort to minute description and close analysis, must, from the 
nature of the case, terminate in failure. This fact is instructive. 
It suggests the kind of teaching which alone promises success. 
Accordingly, the theory which we are here considering recog- 
nizes these original differences of mental constitution. It pro- 
ceeds upon the assumption that in teaching this art analysis is 
necessary as well as synthesis. 

The methods indicated by these two words, though precisely 
opposite in process, both presuppose in the things to which they 
are applied some particular law or principle of combination in 
the parts of which it is composed. 

It is, therefore, not any breaking up or separation of a thing 
into its parts or constituent elements, that constitutes what we 
call its analysis. The separation must proceed upon some prin- 
ciple, or, at least, in such way as to reveal in the process the na- 
ture of the several constituents engaged in the combination. 
Analysis so conducted is a luminous teacher. It takes things 
apart, not out of mere childish curiosity, but in order to show 
how they are held together. It is, indeed, the very key -to syn- 
thesis. This is the process which takes away from complexity 
all its forbidding aspect, and invites even the most timid aspi- 
rant in art to the free and fearless exercise of his powers. 

If in Penmanship, as in other arts that engage the understand- 
ing and appeal to the decision of taste, the student is desirous to 
go beyond the models furnished to his hand, and seek the origin 
of those -forms and combinations which he is called upon to ana- 
lyze and reproduce in his practice, he will be led immediately to 
the study of Nature. There they may be seen in infinite diver- 


sity of combination. There all the elements of all the letters, in 
ways without number, enter into the composition of countless 
objects fitted to delight the eyes of the beholder. The broad and 
beautiful landscape, that loveliest picture in the gallery of na- 
ture, is full of them. Kock, valley, hill, lake, mountain, and 
river, waving fields and majestic woods, with all the endless 
intermingled variety of life and motion that serve so vividly to 
awaken the sense of beauty, and throw over the spirit the spell 
of enchantment, all and each abound in originals to him that has 
the eye to discern them. "Would you copy these originals ? It 
is not enough for that purpose merely to take synthetic vie^vs — 
to regard objects or any grouping of objects as a whole. They 
must be dealt with analytically. Their several features must be 
examined in detail. The lines that bound them, eui-ved or 
straight, their points of contact and intersection, with all their 
close and mutual relations, must engage your attention and fix 
themselves fijmly in the mind. 

But there is another feature in the theory here under view 
which is essential to complete success in the practice of the art. 
The muscles of the arm, hand, and fingers, that is, those muscles 
which are chiefly concerned in the production of written forms, 
are well known to be under the direction of the will. They are 
capable, therefore, of being trained. They may be made, 
through the medium of the nerves, those mysterious channels 
of motion and sensation, to work, in such a matter as penman- 
ship, with the utmost precision. How to train the muscles, there- 
fore, and make them habitually efficient in the business of 
writing, i^ manifestly among the things indispensable to all 
worthy proficiency in the art. 

The fair inference from the observations which we have sub- 
mitted on the theory of Penmanship, and the only one, in fact, 
which deserves attention, is that no system of writing which ig- 
nores the scientific basis of the art, and therefore fails, in teach- 
ing it, to supply the means of study and practice which alone 
are suitable to the dignity of an intellectual pursuit, is worthy 
of the slightest consideration. 

Assuming this to be the correct view of the subject, we offer 
in the following pages a course of instruction founded distinctly 


upon it. We offer it, however, as no mere experiment, but as a 
thing already experienced. If the student, whatever his capa- 
city, whatever the original bent of his mind — for we admit that 

" With wise intent 
The hand of Nature on peculiar minds 
Imprints a different bias" — 

if the student will but be careful to secure suitable models for 
imitation, subject them rigidly to the test of analysis, and make 
them his own by careful reconstruction, training the muscles 
chiefly engaged in the work to the ready and accurate perform- 
ance of their office, and doing all under the inspiration or impulse 
that belongs to a liberal art, he can not fail of the highest meas- 
ure of attaiimient of which his natural powers are capable. 



Befoke entering upon any pursuit, one must proTide him- 
self witli suitable materials and implements ; since the success of 
a work often depends as much upon the instruments employed 
m its execution, as upon the skill of the workman that uses 

So true is this, indeed, that it has come to be a maxim, that 
the workman is known by his tools. And, if the practiced 
workman is so largely indebted for the success of his practice to 
the character of the means he employs, how much more neces- 
sary is it that he who is a mere beginner, should be supplied 
with appropriate materials. 

The best materials are always the cheapest. The actual 
outlay may be greater at first; but since good materials are 
always more durable, they will always be found less expensive 
in the end. 

Nor is this all. Poor materials waste time, exhaust patience, 
and hinder progress. It is often said, that this or that is good 
enough for &' child ; and yet it is expected of the child to do as 
well as if furnished with the same materials as the older and 
more experienced. Thus, instead of encouraging the youthful 
pupil, obstacles are thrown in his way at the very outset, fi:om 
which older persons would immediately shrink. 

Were it not for the native enterprise and sanguine spirit 
which children, unacquainted with failure, usually possess, they 
would never attempt such seeming impossibilities. 

With these remarks, we proceed at once to a description of 
the materials and implements necessary to good penmanship. 


Paper. — ^Whether it be in the form of writing-books or not, 
the paper should be decidedly good. ' It is difficult for the most 
skillful penman to execute creditably upon poor paper. How, 
then, can the child, or beginner, produce any thing satisfactory, 
either to himseK or his teacher, upon that which a proficient in 
the art finds it impossible to use with advantage ? 

The essential qualities of good paper are weight and firmness. 
It should be clearly ruled and slightly glazed, and of such firm- 
ness of texture that the writing on one side wiU not be visible 
on the other. Thickness is not always a certain criterion ; for 
some very thick paper is of poor quality. Heavy glazing is 
sometimes put on paper for the purpose of covering defects. 
Pure white, also, is preferable to colors. 

In accordance with the above suggestions, the publishers of 
the Spencerian copy-books have made them of paper of the very 
best quality. 

Blank books, which are sometimes used in schools, are made 
of an inferior and much cheaper paper. This accounts for many 
failures in writing. 

Blotting Paper — This is used not so much for absorbing ink 
as for keeping the book neat. The hand, in passing over the 
surface of the paper, is very likely to 
soil it. The blotting paper should be of 
sufficient size to admit of both hands 
being placed upon it. If shaped as rep- 
resented in the accompanying diagram, 
this point is easily gained. The same side should always be 
placed next to the paper. 

Booh Covers. — For the purpose of keeping the books neat and 
protecting them from being torn or folded, it is desirable that 
they should be covered. 

That all may be covered uniformly, it is advised that a suffi- 
cient quantity of suitable paper be procured, by contribution or 
otherwise, and that some of the older scholars be appointed to 
cut and fit the covers to all the books, the teacher furnishing a 
model. The names of the pupils should be written upon both 
covers in a neat plain hand, to prevent the books from being 

heft Tumi. 

Copy .... 

Right hand. 


Ruled Lines. — To aid the youtMal pupil in securing the right 
slant, it is well that he should be provided with ruled Hnes, 
very black, and on the proper angle, which, being placed under 
the paper on which he is to write, serve the important purpose 
of guiding him till he is folly established in the habit of making 
the right slant or inclination. This being done, the ruled lines 
should be dispensed with. 

Pens. — Of all the instruments or implements of his art, that 
which claims the greatest attention of the penman is, doubtless, 
the pen. What kind of pen we shall use, therefore, in learning 
how to write, is a question of no small importance. 

Steel pens, from their cheapness and abundance, have long 
since superseded, in great measure, that time-honored article — the 


" In days of yore, the poet's pen 

Prom wing of bird was plunder'd ; 
Perhaps of goose, but now and then, 

Prom Jove's own eagle sunder'd. 
But now metallic pens disclose 

Alone the poet's numbers ; 
In iron inspiration glows, 
Or with the poet slumbers." 

The quill, however, as before intimated, has not entirely gone 
out of use. It is still employed in some kinds of ornamental 

But the best pen for learners is a steel one. The irregular 
flow of ink, and its frequent thickening upon gold pens, is a 
serious objection to their use by those who are just commencing 
to write ; but for business purposes, the gold pen, on account of 
its great durability and smoothness of point, is preferable to any 

Steel pens produce the most perfect lines. In the selection of 
a steel pen, the shape, point, flexibility, and quality of metal are 
to be considered. It should be of the finest metal, well finished, 
of medium size, with smooth and moderately fine points, and of 
a good degree of flexibility. 

Those pens having the left point a trifle shorter than the 
other are the most durable, and the best adapted to ordinary 


Penholders. — The best penholders are plain wooden ones, 
having a simple clasp for securing the pen. AU ornamental 
penholders should be discarded. They are unwieldy, easily 
broken, and generally inconvenient. 

Ink. — Good ink is one of the things essential to good pen- 

We do not here intend to recommend any particular manufac- 
ture, but to point out the properties and characteristics of good 
ink, together with the means for its preservation. Black ink is 
the best for use in the school-room. 

The properties that should distinguish ink are : first, that it 
should flow easily ; second, that it should penetrate the surface 
of the paper ; third, that it should not be glossy ; fourth, that 
it should not corrode the paper or pen more than water ; fifth, 
that it should become a deep black, and not change to a brown, 
or fade out altogether. 

Ink, although made to possess these qualities, will thicken upon 
exposure to the air, on account of the evaporation of the water 
contained ia it. Wben this happens, it may be diluted with a 
weak decoction of tea or coffee. Water makes the ink pale, nor 
does it mix well, except when raised to a boiliug temperature. 

It is commonly supposed that mold is injurious to ink ; but 
this is an erroneous impression. Mold is generated only when 
the temperature of the room or place in which it is kept rises 
above 70° Fahrenheit, and wieh the ink is kept unused. The 
formation of mold can be prevented by adding a few drops ot 
cologne, or tincture of myrrh to a quart of ink. This, also, im- 
proves the fluidity. A greater quantity is apt to precipitate the 
gum, which holds the coloring matter in solution. 

The dark color which comes by exposure to the air is owing 
to the oxydization of the iron contained in the ink. The same 
dark color is obtained in the manufacture of ink, by peroxyd- 
izing the iron salt ; but this makes an ink which is easily effaced, 
as it is unable to form a combination with the paper. 

Glossy ink cannot be used in letters or books, as it has so 
much body that it does not penetrate the paper. In damp 
weather it is apt to smear, and, if rubbed, the words written 
with it are easily rendered indistinct or illegible. This ink is 


of great utility in draughts and ornamental penmansliip. Tlie 
common copying ink is a good sample of this kind. 

Most of the green, or bluish-green writing fluids used at 
the present time, have a proportion of sulphate of indigo ia 
them, and, when used without this substance being neutralized, 
are very corrosive. Wherever this ink is used, it will eat into 
the paper, and cause the writing to look rough or ragged; 
and, in time, the paper will be altogether destroyed, and the 
writing obliterated. 

If ink becomes faded, on account of excess of iron, it may be 
restored by going over it with a light infusion of nutgalls, or 
some similar preparation. 

The best ink for general purposes with which we are ac- 
quainted, is composed of nutgalls, salt of iron, suiBcient gum to 
hold the color in solution, and a little logwood to improve the 
hue, when first used. Other ingredients are sometimes used in the 
manufacture of ink, for the pui-pose of modifying the shade and 
lessening the expense ; but as such ink generally -contains but 
little or no gallic acid, it is of a much inferior quality, and is 
commonly transitory. 

There is a vile dye, made of bichromate of potash and log- 
wood, which is used quite extensively throughout our schools, 
that is not indeed an ink proper. ITo one who writes with it 
can make a manuscript look well, since it assumes many shades, 
from a pale blue to a deep black, is full of specks, and gives a 
rough appearance to the writing. The only reason why it meets 
with any favor, is the small expense of manufacture. The con- 
sumer only, loses by it ; since it is sold at the same price' as the 
best writing fluids. 

Of fancy inks there are great numbers. The one easiest to 
write with, and most durable, is the Eoyal Tyrian Purple. This 
ink is made without an alkali, flows easily, while age only gives 
it a richer hue. 

There is, also, a great variety of red inks in use ; though the 
only one suitable for the purpose is carmine. Eed ink is em- 
ployed mostly in ruling. 

India ink is an imported article, and generally comes in cakes 
or roUs. It is much used by artists, and in pen-drawing. It is 



prepared by pouring a very little soft water upon a plate, and 
then rubbing the end of the cake or roll on the plate in the 
water, until the desired shade is produced. Sometimes a few 
drops of ammonia are added, and the plate heated, in order to 
cause the ammonia to combine more thoroughly with the int. 

Very good ink is sometimes made by mixing different kinds 
containing opposite qualities. The green writing fluids, mixed 
with Japan ink in the proportion of two parts of Japan to one 
of fluid, form a very excellent compound. Professional penmen 
often add a few drops of ammonia and a small piece of gum 
arable to a quart of black ink. This increases the shade, and 
gives brilliancy to the color, but is not durable. 

Penwipers. — The best thing for this purpose is a piece of 
chamois skin ; but very pretty and serviceable penwipers may 
be made by taking a piece of black woolen cloth, cutting it into 
round pieces of different sizes, and stitching them together. No 
school is prepared to enter upon lessons in penmanship without 
these articles. They should be distributed as other writing 
materials. There is no objection, however, to a pupil having an 
extra one for his private use. 

Tajbles, or Desks and Chaies. — These should be of hight 
suitable for the persons occupying them. 

The following graduated scale may be useful to teachers in 
seating their pupils : 

Chairs, in 


16 in. 

Hight of desk side next to scholar 

27J in. 

Age, 14 to IT 


" " " " 


" 12 to 14 


■' " " ■' 


" 10 to 12 


" " " 


" 8 to 10 


" " " " 


" 6 to 8 


" " " " 


" 4 to 6 

As a general rule, that hight of table or desk is best, at 
which a person, when 'sitting or standing in the proper position 
for writing, while resting the elbow upon the desk, finds that 
the shoulder is neither elevated nor depressed. All school desks 
should be furnished with permanent inkstands, capable of being 
easily removed, for the purpose of filling or cleaning. They 
should be made of glass, and protected by a metallic case. The 



covers should be sufficiently close to keep out the dust, and pre- 
vent the ink from deterioriating, by molding or evaporation. 

Blackboakd. — This is an indispensable article in teaching. It 
should be of ample proportions, and 
made of slate, or be slate-finished. 
A portion of it should be ruled with 
painted or scratched lines, for the 
purpose of regulating the relative 
length of letters in writiiig. The 
accompanying model will, perhaps, 
give the best representation of it. 

Chakts. — Upon these are exhibited magnified models of letters, 
showing the analysis, proportion, and varieties of style. These 
should be hung up or distributed in prominent places about the 
room. The Spencerian Charts of Writing and Drawing are 
particularly adapted to these purposes. 

.Although the above remarks may seem to apply especially to 
the case of public sohools; yet, with the exception of a few 
specialities, they are equally well adapted to the use of private 
schools and individuals. 



Position gives power. Good penmanship requires an easy, 
convenient, and healtKful position. Many persons, however, 
disregard this fact, and, in many schools, a position is allowed 
which is detrimental, not only to gOod penmanship, but, if long 
continued, to good health also. Such a position, generally con- 
sists in crossing the legs and folding them up, in bending the 
back, neck, and head until they are as crooked as the famous 
" stick that couldn't lie stUl," in bringing the chin in as close 
proidmity to the hands, as the hands are to the paper, in crooking 
the fingers and pinching the pen with a vice-like, grasp, and, 
finally, in opening the mouth and making the jaws and tongue 
keep time to the movements of the pen and hand. 

Before entering upon a description of the proper positions 
that may be assumed in writing, it wiU be in place to remark 
that the greatest difficulty will be found in teaching the pupil to 
remain long in any position. He that is unused to the business 
of writing, finds at first that his arm, his hand, and his whole 
body soon become weary. From this he naturally seeks relief 
by assuming any position, however careless or improper. 

The teacher should, therefore, devote a few short preliminary 
lessons to the matter of position alone. While doing this, no 
particular regard need be had to the formation of the letters, nor 
to the character of the paper employed — ^mere scraps will an- 
swer ; since the aim of the exercise is simply to secure or to fix 
habitual correctness of position. This, if rightly done, will make 
the proper position, both for sitting at the desk and for holding 
the pen, a thing easy for the pupil before he actually enters upon 
the more difficult task of considering the structura of letters. 




" One thing at atime, and that well done, " is a rule which applies 
with especial force in penmanship. 

There are fonr positions which may be properly assumed, and 
each is correct according to circumstances. They are : 

The Left. 

The Eight. 

The Eight Oblique. 

The Front. 

There are some general directions which apply to all these 
positions. The body, for example, must always be in a position 
nearly erect, — ^near to, but never leaning upon or touching the 
desk. The feet must have a direction corresponding to the slant 
of the letters. The hands must always be at right angles to one 

T?ie Left Position is that of the left side to the desk. The 
left forearm is advanced from four to six inches upon the desk, 
and is parallel with its edge. In order to give smoothness and 
precision to the execution, the body and head must' be slightly 
inclined to the left, and the left arm and hand leaned upon 
lightly. This is done for the purpose of holding the paper and 
giving steadiness to the body. The right arm is thus left free 
for all motion.. It rests upon the muscles just below the elbow. 
In this position, the paper or book must be parallel with the . 
edge of the desk, and the elbow of the right arm two or three 
inches from the side, and about the same distance from the edge 
of the desk. 

Persons who have been accustomed to throwing the whole 
weight of the body upon the table, and bringing the eyes in 
close proximity to the paper, as if very near-sighted, will find 
this a difficult position at first ; but experience will soon teach 
them the ease and comfort with which they may labor while oc- 
cupying it. This position is illustrated in the accompanying 
drawing, which represents a man standing at a desk writing. 
The same position of hand, arm, and body is observed in the 
sitting posture. 

The Sight Position. This position requires the right side to 
be placed near to the desk, but not in contact with it ; the body 
to be erect, and the left foot advanced until the heel is opposite 


the hollow of the right foot, and distant from it two or three 
inches. The right arm should be parallel to the edge of the 
desk, and rest upon the muscles just below the elbow. The hand 
should rest upon the nails of the third and fourth fingers. The 
left hand must be at right angles to the right, and rest upon the 
paper or book, which should be kept parallel with the edge of 
the desk. Great uniformity may be attained in training pupils 
to maintain this position. 

In the case of double desks, the book on the left should have 
its front edge parallel with the edge of the desk, while the upper 
side of the book should be even with the end of the deskT The 
book on the right must have its upper side on a line with the 
middle of the desk. "When the book is open and the right page 
is to be written on, let the cover hang down over the edge of the 
desk ; but when the left page is to be written on, move the book 
to the right till the edge is even with the edge of the desk, keep- 
ing the same straight line with the middle of the desk. 

In this position, never let the left hand drop down, but use 
it constantly in holding the book and assisting to steady the 
body. • 

This position is illustrated in the drawing of a boy seated at a 

The Right Oblique. Here the right side is nearer to the 
desk, but does not touch it. The right arm is placed obliquely 
upon the desk, resting upon the muscles below the elbow. The 
left hand must be at right angles to the right, the body leaning 
slightly forward. In this position, care must be taken not to 
support the body upon the right arm, as this would interfere 
with its action. The paper or book must be placed obliquely 
upon the desk, and the right arm kept parallel to it. 

In teaching this position at two-seated desks, when the ink- 
stand is in the middle, the pupil on the right should be directed 
to point his right arm and hand toward the inkstand, and the 
pupil on the left, towards the upper corner of the desk. 

The Front Position. This consists in sitting directly in front 
of the desk, keeping both sides equally distant from it. Tho 
book or paper should be at an angle of twenty degrees to the 
edge of the desk. The hands must be at right angles to one an- 



Other. This position is illustrated in the drawing of the lady 
who is seated at a desk writing. 

Penholding. This is one of the most important and difficult 
things to learn. Yet by a little care and patience the correct 
manner may soon be acquired, and, if once fixed, there is little 
danger of departure from it. 

Many skillful penmea differ, in one or two points, as to the 
manner of holding the pen ; yet as regards the general princi- 
ples, most of them agree. 

We present the following method of holding the pen, it being, 
as we think, the easiest and the best adapted to long-continued 
or business writing. 

Take the pen between the thumb and first and second fingers, 
and let the holder cross the first finger' just forward of the 
knuckle-joint. The end of the second finger should drop below 
the first, so that the pen may cross it at the root of the nail, and 
the end of the thumb should press upon the holder opposite the 
first joint of the first finger. The first and second fingers should 
touch each other as far as the first joint of the first finger ; the 
third and fourth must be slightly curved and separate from the 
others at the middle joint, and rest upon the paper at the tips of 
the nails. The hand will then glide easily over the paper, and 
not stick, as it would be apt to do, if the fleshy part of the fin- 
gers touched it. The wrist must always be elevated a htlle 
above the table. 

Another method of holding the pen differs from this only in 
keeping the second finger at the side of the penholder just where 
the pen is inserted. 

The advantage of dropping the second finger below the first, 
and allowing the pen to cross it at the root of the naU, is this : 
the pen is thereby held more securely and with less effort than 
when those fingers are together in their whole length. By drop- 
ping the end of the second finger below the first, a rest is afforded 
for the pen, and the fingers are made to act as if they were 
equal in length. This is the most natural method ; for if the 
hand is allowed to hang easily by the side of the body, the fin- 
gers will asstmie this position. If one attempt to pick up a 
pencil or pen from the table or the floor the same result is no- 



ticed; so also in placing it over the ears or removing it from 
them. Both of these positions are employed by good writers, 
but we deem it necessary to manifest onr preference for the one 
which long experience and mnch observation has proved to be 
the best adapted to business writing." Reporters and those com- 
pelled to write with extreme rapidity sometimes hold a pencil 
between the first and second fingers ; Ibnt this position is not 
adapted to an elegant style of penmanship. 




"Let the pen gKde like gently rolling stream, 
Restless, but yet unwearied and serene, 
Forming, and blending forms, with graceful ease, 
Thus letter, word, and line are bom to please." — SpeTuxr. 

All written forms correspond, in every particular, with the 
movements whicli produce them. In music the melody is full 
and rich, or faint and indistinct in proportion as the touch is fin- 
ished and powerful, or feeble and uncertain. In penmanship, if 
the movements are free and graceful, the lines formed will be 
symmetrical and beautiful; if the movements are slow and 
labored, the writing will be heavy and inelegant, or, if the move- 
ments ai^ cramped, nervous, and irregular, the lines will be 
rough and uneven. 

To produce melodious sounds upon an instrument of music, 
the pupil must submit to long hours of practice daily, before the 
muscles of the arm and hand learn to obey the will, and no less 
discipline will be required in learning to produce beautiftd forms 
with the pen. 

While giving lessons on position, thorough instruction should 
be given in the various movements used in writing, and the 
pupil should practice them on waste paper. On the Spen- 
cerian Exercise Chart, in the Exercise Series of Copy Books, and 
on the page of exercises accompanying this chapter, will be 
found a great variety of exercises designed for movement drill. 

In regular writing, we recommend only two movements, 
namely, the Combined movement, and the Whole- Arm Move- 

The Comhined Mcmement consists in the combined and simul- 



taneous action of the fore-arm, hand, and fingers, the hand mov- 
ing easily over the paper, upon the nails of the third and fourth 
fingers. The three minor movements of the fore-arm, hand, and 
fingers may be drilled upon separalely, before combining them. 
Eminent professional and business men use them in combination, 
in preference to other movements, because power, and fi-eedom 
of sweep of the fore-arm can thus be united with the more deli- 
cate touch and shaping power of the fingers, enabling the writer 
to execute smoothly, rapidly, and elegantly, for hours, without 
wearying the hand. 

Long and varied experience, and extended observation, demon- 
strate this to be the true movement for those who desire to 
became accomplished business penmen. 

The Whole-Arm Movement consists in the independent action 
of the entire arm from the shoulder, the fore- arm and elbow 
being slightly raised from the paper, and the hand moving upon 
the nails of the third and fourth fingers, as in the combined 

The Whole-Arm Movement is adapted to the formation of 
large capital letters, to flourishing, and to writing upon the black- 
board. Since it calls into exercise all the muscles of the arm, 
it is indispensable as a medium of training for those who wish to 
become masters of the art of penmanship. 

There is also a lateral movement, which is not a continuous 
motion, but consists in changing the place of rest. It is almost 
impossible, in writing across a page of ordinary width, to keep 
the resting-place of the fore-arm, which is upon the muscles just 
below the elbow, in any one place. Either the paper must be 
re-adjusted at every long word, or after every two or three short 
words, or else the ann itself must change its base. We con- 
sider the change of base, or the rest of the arm, the least objec- 
tionable, as it is the most convenient and expeditious. However, 
as the top or bottom of the page is approached, the paper must- 
be moved up or down to suit convenience. 

The diagrams on the preceding page farnish illustrations of 
these movements. ^ 


( Jiw iUustration, see accompanying plate.) 

Lettees in -writing, as also the Arabic numerals, are classified 
in groups according to similarity of forms. We begin with 
those which are the product of the fewest and simplest lines, 
curved and straight. Curves are of two kinds, — right and left. 

Small Lettees. — The^s^ group consists of the letters i, u, 
and w. . It will be noticed that these letters are formed entirely 
of straight lines and right curves. 

The second group consists of the letters n, m, x, and v. Here 
the left curve is introduced in connection with the right and the 
straight line. In these letters the curves and straight lines are 
produced by a continuous motion of the pen, except in the case 
of the letter x, where the crossing line is made upwards and on 
a slant somewhat different from the regular downward line. 
This is the only instance in the alphabet where a straight line is 
made upwards. 

The third group comprises the letters o, a, e, and o. These have 
the same curves and straight lines as the preceding letters, but 
they are differently combined. Some of the curves are slightly 
modified, as the form of the letter requires. 

Thefourth group consists of the letters r and s. The princi- 
pal characteristic of these is the slight additional hight to which 
the first curve rises. 

YhR fifth group is that of the letters t, d,p, and q. These, 
on account of their length, are often called short-extended. 

The sixth group consists of the letters in which the prominent 
feature is the loop, and which are, therefore, designated as the 
loop letters. The curves and straight Hnes are much more ex- 


tended in these letters than in any others. They are A, h, I, i 

Capital Lettees. — The same rule of classification apphes t 
capital letters as to small ones. 

There are four forms or principles which enter into the coi 
Btruction of these letters, beside the four that are found in tli 
small letters. They are the full 0, the contracted 0, tt 
capital loop, and capital stem. 

The first group of the capital letters is this : 0, E, and B. 

It will be observed, that while the E and D have a geners 
oval form, they also include \hefull 0. 

The second group consists of the letters C and H. These ai 
placed together on account of the similarity in regard to tl 
upper loop and the contracted 0. 

The third group is composed of the letters X, Z, Q, and H 
AH these letters commence with the capital loop, terminatin 
with a line curved towards the left. 

The fov/rih group is composed of the letters F", Z7, and 1 
"We place these together, because the first part of each is alike, e: 
cept in the case of Y, where there is a slight change in the lengtl 
The capital loop in these letters terminates in a curve to the righ 

The fifth group consists of A, JV, and M. The similarity i 
the forms of these is sufficiently obvious. 

The sixth group is made up of the letters T and E Tl 
only difference between these is the finish of the E 

In the seventh group we place the / and J. These are ahke 
except in the termination. 

The eighth group is composed of the letters S, Z, G, and J 
The particular characteristic of these is the upward line ar 
compound curve. 

The ninth group consists of P, B, and Ji. These are plac( 
together on account of their general oval appeara/nce. 

FiGtTEEs. — The first group consists of the figures 1, 4, Y. 
will be seen that these are composed of lines which are straigl 
or nearly so. 

The second group is composed of 0, 9, 6. In these figures tl 
single oval is most prominent. 

The third group is composed of the figures 5, 2, 3, 8. 

ScaZ& of Slcvrvb. ^ 


J i/ u 


/7 ''^' ' ' '"^^ 


' ' rr/:, ■ 'iy .-^y 

^ / ^ 

y yi ^ y ' u ' . 



Short Zelters. ^ 


^ a 12 X 1 s J 3 a 1 3 12 X 

a 2 ■! 1 2 J 1 JiJ 2 s 3 22a J 22a J322 3 y 1 2 a J i a sua 2e 

^^y^^y^^y^^/^/^-x^^/^/y. y^^.yy/j ^yy y. yyy/y. 




Sefni - e^ten^eZed betters. 



T~ ■>/■ / ' J ' ■! 




/ ■^'' 


/ /- 

lytended Zetlers. 

' .3 


y') /) 

/ /, y 


1 ^ 

. yyyyyfjy 


"'.- - "/ --^^ 


L /u 

! J 

. / 

Sta^n^^a^ci dzpit^i^I Zpfiers. 



In this chapter we shall give an account of the principles, or 
elements, which enter into the construction of letters; also a 
description and analysis of the letters themselves. We shall 
likewise point out some of the more prominent faults of execu- 
tion, adding, at the same titne, some suggestions as to the best 
means of correcting them. 

It is here presumed that the pupil, before entering upon the 
particular study of forms, has made himself familiar with the 
position and movements best adapted to the construction of 

Before a letter can be correctly formed, some idea of its pro- 
portions, and the mode of combining its several parts, mu^t exist 
in the mind. Hence the necessity of presenting true forms to 
the observation of those learning to write. Then, with proper 
and sufficient training of the muscles of the arm and hand, a cor- 
rect letter may be produced. As has been aptly expressed by 
one long skilled in the art of Penmanship, " Make the mind 
master of the subject, and every servant of the house it lives in 
becomes obedient to the will." 

While we are studying Penmanship as an art, as indicated in 
a previous chapter, it is pleasant to look into Nature, and see 
whence we derive the forms which are used in the construction 
of letters. We know that the rays of light emanating from lumi- 
nous bodies, proceed to the earth without apparent change of 
direction. These, then, furnish us with the straight line. 

The undulating wave upon the surface of the ocean, and clouds 
floating in the atmosphere, present to us curves full of grace and 


1 n 


The oval is seen in leaf, bud and flower, in the wave-wasl 
pebble, and in shells that lie scattered upon the shore, and coi 
the bottom of the sea. 

When we consider Penmanship as associated with these thin, 
it is no longer merely mechanical labor, devoid of interest a 
pleasure, but it is a noble and refining art, having charms whi 
appeal to the finest susceptibilities of the heart. 

The floating clouds, the sun's bright beam, 

The ocean wave, bud, leaf, and sky. 
The opening flower, the rolling stream. 

Are letters to the enraptured eye. 

Study, then, the fair page of Nature, that the mind may 
filled with forms of beauty, if you would learn to write wi 
elegance and grace. 


Before proceeding to a description of principles and lette: 
we deem it necessary to define some terms that will often 

Principles are the constituent parts of letters. Of these the 
are eight, as follows : 

Only the first four enter"into the composition of small letter 
while the last four are prominent as the characteristic features 
the capitals, the others being combined with them. 

A stradght line is one which is without chan 
of direction between any two given points, or o 
which does not hend in any of its parts. 

Pa/rallel lines are those which run in t 
same direction, and are equally distant frc 
each other throughout their entire length 


A curved line is one that has a continuous 
change of direction, or one that bends in all 
of its parts. 

Similar curves are those which follow the 
same general direction, but are not necessarily 
' y?/^ parallel. 

In forming letters, lines are combined angularly^ by upper and 
'^wer turns, and by loops. 

/^ ^ An cmgular joining is the meeting of two lines 

^--^''— in a point. 

Tipper and lower turns. — In the analysis of 
the small letters, it will be observed that short 
jurves frequently occur as the connecting links between the prin- 
ciples. These curves we call turns. . When one appears at the 
top of a letter, it is called an upper turn, when at the base of a 
letter, it is called a lower turn. When accurately measured, 
these turns are found to occupy one-sixth of the hight of a short 
letter, which, in magnified forms, may be readily perceived, but 
in writing of ordinary size, they are too minute for measure- 
ment with the eye. Hence, they are not entitled to be classed 
among the principles, any more than the dots which occur in 

There is a great tendency on the part of pupils to make these 
turns too broad, and by attempting to make them according to 
a given measure, the error is especially augmented. To avoid 
this, and to produce correct turns, the* pupil should be instructed 
to aim at making them as short as is possible with a continuous 
motiooi of the pen. 

A loop consists of two opposite curves, a 
right and a left, uniting at one end in a 
y^ turn, and afterward crossing each other. 


In the description of letters, we shall often make use of the 
terms one space, one-half space, two spaces, &c. 
One space is the standard of measurement. 


The small letter i, without the dot, is taken for th 
V y standard in hight, both for small letters and capitale 
One space in hight is, therefore, equivalent to the high 
of the small letter *', which, in a medium hand, is one-ninth of ai 
inch. The engravings accompanying the descriptions in thii 
volume, though in the same proportions, are made on a large; 
scale, to facilitate a more perfect analysis. 

By one space in width, we mean a distance equa 

y^y^y to that between the two slanting straight lines in th( 

small letter u. In- compact writing, the Jetter u ii 

narrower than in the ordinary open hand, but it is still the stan 

dard of measurenJ^t for the width of small letters. 

The space between the similar curves in the different capita 
principles is the standard for the measurement of the width o: 
capital letters. (See Capital JPrinciples.) 


A direct oval is one which commences with i 
downward movement on its left side. 

A reversed oval begins with a downward move- 
ment on its right side. 

An inverted oval commences with an upward move- 
ment on its left side. 



The First Principle is simply a 
straight line, slanting to the right of 
the perpendicular, forming an angle 
of 52° (fifty-two degrees), with the 
horizontal line. This is the regular 
slant for all written letters. 

; The Second Prineiplacis the right curve-, 

/ U J BO called because it appears in the right 

~T ^~/~ V side of an oval figure. 


The Third Principle is the left curve, 
so called because it appears in the left 
side of an oval figure. 

^ /J The Second and Third Principles, when united in 
—'-<:-— ^^~ a lower turn, form a direct pointed oval, and when 
united in an upper turn, form an inverted pointed oval, both 
being on an angle of 34° (thirty-four degrees.) 

These principles are subject to modifications in slant and curve, 
as the peculiarities of form in different letters may require. 

The Fourth Principle is the extended loop. It 
is three spaces in hight and one-half space in width. 
In its formation, the right and left curves and the 
slanting straight line are combined in the following 
manner: The right curve extends upward from the ruled line 
three spaces, forming the right side of the loop. It is here united 
in a turn to the left curve, which extends downward two spaces, 
forming the left side of the loop. At this point it crosses the 
right curve, merging into a straight line, which extends down- 
ward, on the regular slant, to the ruled line. The distance be- 
tween the right curve and the straight line, at the base, is one 
space. The loop should be so proportioned, that a line drawn 
from its top to the ruled line, on the regular slant, will pass 


through the crossing of the curves, leaving one-third of the lo( 
on the left side of the line, and two-thirds on the right. 

The analysis and proportions of this loop are exhibited, on 
magnified scale, on Chart No. 2. 

With SuggesiioTis as to the Means of Correcting Errors. 

Letters will be treated of in the order of their classification, i 
given in a previous chapter. 

y The mnall letter i is one space in liight, without tl 

-.Zu— dot, and, as before stated, is the standard of measur 
ment for the hight of aU letters. It begins on the ruled line wil 
a right curve extending upward one space, where it is joint 
angularly to a slanting straight line, which descends to the rule 
line, uniting in a turn with a second right curve. This curve 
similar to the first, and, ascending one space above the ruled lin 
completes the letter. The dot is made by placing the pen at tl 
hight of one space above the straight portion of the letter, and o 
a line with it, pressing gently upon the point, as if to begin 
downward line, and then removing it quickly. 

y / / Analysis. — Principles : — Second, First, Second 

/'^C-'^yC-^ -^-^^ /y^O ginning with left curv 

instead of right ; blend 
ing the first curve with the straight line ; making the straigb 
line and curve on wrong slant ; making the turns too broad o 
too angular ; irregularity of curve ; dot too heavy, too close t^ 
the body of the letter, or too far to the right or to the left of th 
letter ; first principle curved. 

Suggestions. — Faults of this character are often corrected easil; 
by writing the letter in a magnified form. Practice for a timi 
making the i three times its usual hight. Be careful to maki 
the downward line straight, and the turn at base as short as pes 
sible without raising the pen. 


The Letter u is the same as tlie double * witli tlie 

yfy/y dots omitted. It is one space in width, and is the 

standard of measurement for the width of small 

letters. The same rules for connecting lines at top, and making 

turns at base, are to be observed as in the i. • 

The curves are similar, and equidistant; straight lines are 

y/ y/ / Analysis. — Principles : — Second, First, Sec- 

^<-^^-^ ond. First, Second. 

^v/^/ ^ ^ / ^ y ^ y / Probable Faults. — This 
^.^^U^^^ ^^M^--^^^^>(y letter is often made too 

wide or too narrow, the curves irregular, the straight lines not 
parallel. Same faults of connection at top, and turns at base, 
as in i. 

SuggestioThs. — These errors may be corrected by writing the 
letter in a magnified form, as indicated for the i, paying par- 
ticular attention to spacing, and the hight of parts. 


Another method of correction is to write 
the letter the usual size, making long curves 
in beginning and ending, as in the annexed 

The Letter w is one space in hight. The first four 
lines are formed and combined the same as in u. A 
third right curve is then drawn one-half space nearer 
the straight line than in u; then making a slight downward pres- 
sure to form a dot, the letter. terminates with a right curve in a 
horizontal position, one-half space in length. 

Analysis. — Principles': — Second, First, 
Second, First, Second, Second. 

y/y/y^ y^y/A^ Pw5a5fe Faults. — The errors men- 
-^'^^^ ^^^ tioned in the u are also liable to occur 

in this letter. Further, the third curve is often carried too far 
from the straight line, and a loop is made instead of a dot; un- 
equal hight of parts. 



Suggestions. — The corrections are tlie same as those given fc 
the u. Special attention should be given to the finish. 

The Letter n is one space in hight, and one i 
^Z^;^/" width. It is composed of five lines, which are con 
bined in the following manner, Commencing at th 
ruled line with a left curve, it is joined to a slanting straight lin 
by an upper turn. The straight line is imited angularly at th 
base with a second left curve, which is also joined to a slantiu] 
straight line by an upper turn. This second straight line is join© 
to a right curve by a lower turn at its base. The two lefl curve 
are similar, the two straight lines parallel, and the three turns 

/^/^/_^ Analysis. — Principles : — Third, First, Third 
First, Second. 

/^ /^y/ Xyyy Prohable Faults. — The same errors o 
^ '^ // 6/ /^d/ construction in regard to width, spac 
ing and turns may occur in this letter as ia the u. One part i 
sometimes made higher than the other ; the second curve oilei 
retraces the first straight line, separating from it near the top 
instead of at the base ; right curves are frequently made insteac 
of left, thus giving the letter the appearance of the u. 

^^ y / Suggestions. — ^Practice writing the combinatioi 
-■ ^ ^ L^c^ ni large enough to fill the space between the ruled 
lines. When the slant, spacing, and turns are 
correct, this combination will appear the same, though inverted, 
The Letter m is one space in hight, and two ii 
_/^£j^:!J^ width. A left curve commences at the ruled line 
rises one space, and is joined to a descending slant- 
ing straight line by an upper turn. The straight line is joined 
angularly at the ruled line to a second left curve, which is alsc 
joined by an upper turn to a second straight line. This straighl 
line is also joined angularly at the base to a third left curve 
which is joined by an upper turn to a third straight line. This 
straight hne is joined by a lower turn to a right curve, whici 
rises one space and completes the letter. The three left curvet 
are similar and equidistant, the three straight lines are parallel 
and equidistant, and the four turns are uniform. 



y y-> ^' / Analysis. — ^Principles : — Third, First, Third, 
Z1//L/^/^ First, Third, First, Second. 

Prohahh Faults. — The same errors may occur in writing this 
letter as in the n, viz. : irregularity of curves ; inequality in hight 
of parts ; straight lines not parallel ; turns too broad or too an- 
gular ; right curves in place of left ; spaces unequal. 

yn^^ yf ^ y Suggestion. — Practice upon the combination 
_^£-ii-/^c^C^ mu until it has the same appearance inverted 
as when direct. 
Ths Letter x is one space in hight, and one-half 

/ ^Py^ space in width. The last three lines in. the letter n or 
m, the left curve, slanting straight line and right curve, 
combined by the upper and lower turns, form the maiu portions 
of this letter. It is finished with a straight line, beginning on 
the ruled line, half way between the left curve and the lower 
turn, extending upward, crossing the. first straight line midway 
between the upper and lower turns, and ending midway between 
the upper turn and right curve. 

This is the only instance in which a straight line is made up- 
ward, the object in this case being to secure a light Hne. Thi^ 
form of the x is easily taught to beginners, but another form, 
which is made without raising the pen ifrom the paper, is pre- 
sented in the higher numbers of the Spencerian Copy Books. 

y^y / y Analysis. — Principles : — Third, First, Second, 
'=^-— ^^-^ First. 

Probable Faults. — The top and base 

/2/^ ^P^/^ Q^ ^^® sometimes made too rounding, or 

-^ ^ too angular; the crossing line is often 

made downward, which has a tendency to make it too heavy and 

too long. Oftentimes the letter is executed with a continuous 

motion of the pen, making a large loop. 

Stiggesdon. — Practice upon the letter n, crossing the last part 
to form the x. 


The Letter v is one space in MgM, and one-half 
_^/;^/' space in width, from upper turn to dot. The left curve^ 
upper turn, slanting straight line, lower turn and right 
curve on an angle of 45°, finishing with a dot on a level with the 
upper turn, and a right curve in a horizontal position, as in the 
w, form this letter. 

/^/(_^ Analysis. — Principles : — Third, First, Second, Second. 

^nJ Probable FauUs. — Space too wide; 
't/ xc^ ^c/^ unequal hight of parts ; curvature of the 
downward line ; a loop instead of a dot. 

Suggestions. — ^Practice writrag the letter three spaces in hight, 
being particular to make short turns and a straight downward 
line. Make a distinct movement in producing the dot, and form 
the last curve carefully. 

The Letter o is one space ia hight and one-half space 

/fy, in width. A left curve, commencing at the ruled line, 
proceeds upward one space on an angle of 34°, joins 
angularly at the top with a second left curve, which returns to 
the ruled line on the regular slant, where it is joined to a right 
curve. This curve proceeds upward, uniting at the top with the 
two left curves. The letter is finished with a right curve made 

_/_cJ Analysis. — Principles : — Third, Third, Second, Second. 

. Probable Faults. — Too broad ; too nar- 

y^X^yV'-iyytU^ rojv; loop at the top ; open at the top, ap- 
pearing like a or v. 
Suggestions. — Write a succession of small, o's, uniting them 
with a horizontal line slightly curved. To remedy roundness, 
endeavor to make the second line nearly straight, turning at the 
base as short as possible with a 'continuous motion of the pen. 
Give special attention to the closing of the letter at the top. 

^^y The Letter a has generally been considered the most 
-^'--^^^ difficult of all the small letters to construct, but its 


formation is comparatively easy, if the principles heretofore ex- 
plained are thoroughly understood. 

It is one space in hight, and one in width. A left curve, be- 
ginning at the ruled line, extends upward on an angle of 27°, 
and rises to the hight of one space, where it unites with a second 
left curve, which retraces the first one-half its length. At this 
point, which is three-fourths of a space from the ruled line, it 
separates from the first left curve, and continues to the ruled line, 
the entire second left curve being on a slant of 34°. It is joined 
in a lower turn at the base to a right curve, which proceeds up- 
ward, meeting the two left curves, and joining angularly with a 
straight line. This straight line descends on the regular slant, 
uniting in a turn at the base with a right cui-ve, which proceeds 
upward one space, and completes the letter. 

^yy / ^waZysis.— Principles : — Third, Third, Second, 
ZL-yjL^^L- First, Second. 

y^/^l /-J / j^, ^. ^^/ ^/ Probable Faults. — Oval 
^Oy i^ a^^^^^a^A^O too wide ; too nearly up- 
right ; open at top ; a loop at left of oval ; retracing right side 
of oval with straight line ; making finishing turn too broad. 

Suggestions. — Carry the first curve well over to the right, mak- 
ing it about twice as long as for beginning m or n. Turn very 
short at base of downward curve, then endeavor to make the 
right side of the oval nearly straight. Pay particular attention 
to the slant of each line, and make the straight Hne and finishing 
curve with a careful movement. 

The Letter e is one space in hight, and one-third o? a 
J^ space in width. A right curve begins at the ruled line, 
and continues upward one space, uniting in a short turn 
to a left curve, which forms the left side of the loop, and con- 
tinues downward, crossing the right curve one-third of a space 
from the ruled line. This left curve joins at the base to a right 
curve which is continued upward one space, and finishes the 

Analysis. — Principles : — Second, Third, Second. 


/ Probable Faults. — Too wid^a loop, and 

^c/ ^^^Cy .^<-^ turns too broad ; crossing of loop'too near 
ruled line; terminating curve on wrong slant j last curve not 
carried to proper hight. 

The Letter c is one space in bight, and one-half space 

^22^ iu width. It begins at the ruled line with a right curve, 
like that of the letter e, which extends upward nearly 
one space, uniting with a short straight line made downward on 
the regular slant. Turning to the right, a right curve is made,, 
uniting with a left at the top. This left curve descending, crosses 
the first curve one-third of a space above the mled line. It con- 
tinues to the ruled line, where it unites with a right curve, which 
is similar to the first, and completes the letter. The curves right 
and left of the short straight line near the top, should be equi- 
distant from it, and this portion of the letter should be one-third 
<rf its entire lenglii. 

y/* Analysis. — Principles: — Second, First, Second, 

^^f^ Third,Second. 

^ ^ / Probable Faults. — Too large at the top ; 
^^C^ ..^^ -x/ too high ; curves right and left of straight 
line not equidistant from it. 

Suggestions. — Aim at making the top small ; the curve on the 
left nearly straight ; and short turns at top and base. 

y The Letter r is one- and one-fourth spaces in hight, 

^iC^ and one-half space in width. It commences at the 
ruled line with a right curve, extending upward one and one-fourth 
spaces, on an angle of 39°. A dot is made at the top of this line, 
followed by a compound curve one-fourth of a space in length, 
made on an angle of 85° to the left of the perpendicular. This 
is joined by a short turn, to a slanting straight line, which con- 
tinues to the ruled line, where it is united by a lower turn to a 
right curve. This curve extends upward one space, and com.- 
pletes the letter. The width at the base is one-half space. 

/ - . Analysis. — ^Principles : — Second, Compound of 
yL-A-y:—- Tliird and Second, First, Second. 


^ j>y Probable Faults. — ^First curve on wrong slant ; 

'1/ ^^^^ loop at the top instead of a dot ; shoulder car- 


ried out tooifar to the right ; straight line on wrong slant, making 
the base of the letter too wide, or too narrow. 

Suggestions. — Study the form of the r carefully ; pay particular 
attention to the construction of the inclined shoulder, and prac- 
tice writing the letter in a magnified form. Be careful to make 
distinct movements in forming the dot and shoulder. Do not 
make them as if a part of the upward or downward line. 

The Letter s is one and one-fourth spaces in hight, 

^^/ and one-half space in width. The first curve, like that 
in the r, commences at the ruled line, and rises on an 
angle of 39° to the hight of the letter. At this point a compound 
curve unites with it angularly, the first portion being a left, and 
the second la right curvej This compound curve, which resem- 
bles the Capital Stem, or Eighth Principle, diverges gradually 
from the first right curve, for a distance of two-thirds the length 
of the letter, then turning towards it, and still descending, 
touches the ruled line, and rises from this point one-fourth of a 
space, terminating with a dot on the first curve. From the dot 
a right curve retraces the last curve to the turn at the base of the 
letter, and is thence carried up one space, on a slant of 34°, com- 
pleting the letter. 

/ I / -Analysis. — Principles : — Second, Compound of 
Z--J..y-- rj,^^^ ^^^ Second, Second. 

/P /) / Probable Faults. — Pirst curve on wrong 

c^^ " ^^(_U^ slant ; loop at top ; open at base, or too wide. 
Suggestions. — Pay special attention to slant, formation of com- 
pound curve, and dot on first curve. 

The Letter t is two spaces in hight. It commences 
"ZiL' on the ruled line with a right curve, rising two spaces. 
yfy A slanting straight line retraces the first curve for one 
space, then separates from it, and continues down- 
ward on the regular slant, uniting at the ruled line by a lower 
turn to a right curve, which extends upward one space. The 
letter is finished with a light horizontal line, one space in length, 
drawn across the slanting straight line, one-third the length of 
the letter from its top. One-third of this line should be on the- 
left of the slanting straight line, and two-thirds on the right. 


— Analysis. — Principles : — Second, First, Second, 

y£. Prdbahle Faults. — First curve and straight 
X L^ line slanting too mucli to the right. If the 
first curve slants too much, a loop is likely to be formed ; if the 
straight line approaches the perpendicular too nearly, it will 
separate from the curved line at top. 

y/^y' Suggestions. — ^Practice writing the combination fo'. 

The Letter d is two spaces in hight and one in width. 
/ All the lines which compose it are of the same kind, 
^-V^ and upon the same slant, as in the letter a, the only ■ 
^^^ difference being that the right curve is continued up- 
ward two spaces from the ruled Hne, and the descending straight 
line blends with it one-half the length of the letter, as in t. 

^naZysis.— Principles : — Third, Third, Second, 
/f^//^ First, Second. 

/ . Proboible Faults. — The d has all the faults 

/fyL^/fC'/.' of ti^s *) ^"^^ ill addition to these, the straight 
line is often made nearly, or quite perpendic- 
ular, which causes a separation of this line from the curve at the 
top ; the downward line is made uneven, and. the third curve too 
fuU ; a loop is formed. 

Suggestions. — ^Practice thoroughly upon the a; then pay 
special attention to the points of difference. 

The Letter p is three and one-half spaces in hight 
and one space in width. A right curve commences 
at the ruled line, extends upward two spaces, and 
joins angularly at the top with a slanting straight ' 
' ■ Hne, which descends three and one-half spaces, 

crossing the ruled line. This line is retraced to the crossing and 
a left curve, slanting straight line, and right curve are added ' 


of the same form and dimensions as those which compose the 
second portion of the letter n. The two straight lines are 
parallel, and on the regular slant. The turns are short and 

Analysis. — ^Principles : — Second, First, Third, 
First, Second. 

Probable Faults. — In- 
, , creasing the slant of the 
'^ first line ; separating from 
the straight line at the 
base of the letter, instead of retracing it to the ruled line ; mak- 
ing the left curve on wrong slant ; carrying the second part of 
the letter too far from the main portion of it, and making second 
straight line on wrong slant. 

Sugijestions. — ^Practice upon the first curve and straight line, 

then upoli the left curve, straight line, and right curve, writing 

these two portions of the letter separately in groups of four each. 

The Letter q is two and a half spaces in length and 

_y^^^/_ one space in width. The pointed oval which forms 

// the first portion of this letter is in all respects like the 

oval in the letter a. Commencing at the top of this 

oval, a straight line is drawn on the regular slant, extending one 

and a half spaces below the ruled line. A turn is then made to 

the right, and the letter is finished with a compound curve, 

rising to its fiiU hight. The distance from the top of the oval to 

the termination of the curved line is one space. 

Analysis. — Principles: — Third, Third, Second, 
First, Second, Third. 

Probable Faults. — Oval open at top ; down-, 
ward straight line made on wrong slant ; turn 
at the base too full or too angular ; the up- 
ward line carried too far from the body of the letter. 

Suggestions. — Practice upon the oval and the second portion 
of the letter separately, in groups of four each. 


The Letter h is three spaces in tight and one in 
width. Commencing at the ruled line, a loop, or 
right curve, left curve, and straight line, form the 
first part of the letter. The second portion is pre- 
cisely like that of the n, consisting of a left curve, straight line, 
and right curve, each one space in hight. It is united angularly 
to the base of the first straight line. The two straight lines 
should be parallel, and the two right curves similar. 

Analysis. — Principles : — Fourth, Third, First, 
, ^ Second. 

Prohahle Faults. — 
The first curve inclined 

^/y yC^ y yf^y^ y yZ^ yf^f^^ too much to the right; 

making the loop on 
wrong slant ; first curve approaching too near the perpendicular, 
causing the crossing to come too low ; left side of loop too much 
curved, making loop too wide ; second left curve too much in- 
clined to the right, making the lower part of the letter too wide ; 
second straight line not parallel to first. 

Suggestions. — .Practice upon the loop and the second portion 
of the letter separately, and then combine them, paying special 
attention to the joining. To correct too low crossing in loop, 
aim to cross in the middle of the curve. 

The Letter k is three spaces in hight and one in 
width. Beginning with a loop of the same form and 
dimensions as in the letter A, the straight line is re- 
traced one-half space, and a left curve is carried up- 
ward and to the right to a point one space from the crossing of 
the loop, and one and one-fourth spaces from the ruled line.. 
This line is united to a descending right curve one-half space in 
length, inclining toward the straight line. This short right curve 
is united angularly with a slanting straight line, which joins at 
the ruled line by a lower turn to a right curve, continued upward 
one space and completing the letter. The two straight lines 
should be parallel, and one-half space apart. 



Analysis. — Principles : — Fourth, Third, Second, 
First, Second. 

Probable Faults. — The same faults 
are liable to occur in the first part of 
this letter as in the first part of the h; 
a large loop in the second part of the 
letter ; the second straight line on wrong slant, making the base 
of the letter either too wide or too narrow. 

Suggestions.— The difficulties in the second part of this letter 
can only be overcome by a careful observance of its form, and 
persevering practice. Pay special attention to the left and right 
curves in the upper portion. 

The Letter I is three spaces in hight and one-half 
space in width. It is formed by joining to the loop, 
or fourth principle, by a lower turn, a right curve, as 
in the termination of the i. By cutting ofif the loop, 
we have remaining all of the * except the dot. 

Analysis. — Principles : — Fourth, Second. 

Probahle Faults. — Same in this 
letter as in the first part of the h ; 
namely, wrong slant, too low cross- 
ing, too wide loop, and further, letter too short, resembling e; 
turn at base too large and broad. 

Suggestions. — ^For too full curve on the left, aim at producing 
a straight downward line ; for too low crossing, aim at crossing 
the right curve half way between its base and top ; make short 
turn at base. 

The Letter b is three spaces in hight and one-half 
space in width. It is simply the letter I with a ter- 
mination like the v. The distance between the cross- 
ing of the loop and the dot is equal to the width of 
the loop. 


Analysis. — Principles : — Fourth, Second, Second. 

Probahle Faults. — The 
same in Fourth Principle as 
in previous letters contain- 
ing loop; distance too great between crossing and termination; 
loop instead of dot. 

Suggestions. — Same as in previous letter for the loop. To 
correct errors in termination, practice upon h and v alternately. 
The Letter J is three spaces in length, and one-half 
<^ space in width. One space is above the ruled line 
and two below it. It begins on the ruled line with 
a right curve, extending upward one space. This 
connects angularly at the top with the main portion of the letter, 
which is an inverted extended loop. When in this position, the 
crossing of the loop is on the ruled line. The finish is a small 
dot, one space above the straight line, as in i. 

Analysis. — Principles : — Second, Fourth. 

Pfobahle Faults. — Third Principle in beginning 
instead of Second ; loop turned too far to the left, 
and made too large ; second curve of the loop too 
short, and crossing first curve below the ruled line; 
errors in dot same as in i. 

Suggestions. — Practice upon the Second Principle: aim at 
making a straight downward line on first part of loop. As a 
remedy for too heavy dots, make five rows of them, ten in each 
row, equally distant from each other, and no heavier than the 
beginning of a light straight line. 

The Letter y is three spaces in length and one in 
width. It is simply the letter h inverted. The first 
part is precisely like the second portion of the w, and 
is joined to the do-wnward line of the loop angularly, 
at the top, which is one space above the ruled line. The two 
turns are uniform, and the two straight lines parallel. 


^ /y^/^ Analysis. — Principles : — Third, First, Second, Fourth. 


Probahle Faults. — Commencing 
with right curve, instead of left ; in- 
clining the second curve too much 
to the right, making top of letter too 
wide ; unequal hight of parts ; and too low crossing, same as mj- 
Suggestions. — Practice upon the small n, adding to it a down- 
ward loop. For corrections in loop, make A's and y's alternately. 
Each will be the other inverted : aim to make downward lines 

^^^' The Letter g is three spaces in length and one in 
yf^ width. It begins with a pointed oval, as in the a, 
// «f, and q. To this is added an inverted loop, joined 

to it angularly one space above the ruled line. 

/fy /^ Analysis. — ^Principles : — Third, Third, Second, 
yV Fourth. 

Probahle Faults. — Same in the oval as in 

a ov d ; oval too large, and loop too small, 

crossing too low ; loop turned to the left, 

the latter sometimes caused by grasping the 

pen too tightly. 

Suggestions. — Pay special attention to curving, slanting, and 

pointing the oval ; .write oval and loop separately, ia groups of 

four each. 

The long s, when used, is always followed by the 
short s. It is five spaces in length, and one-half 
space in width. Three spaces are above the ruled 
line and two below it. It is formed of a direct and 
an inverted loop. The distance between the cross- 
ings is one space, and the straight line, which forms 
the lower part of the direct loop, is identical with the straight 
line which forms the upper portion of the inverted loop. 


Analysis.— Piinciples :— Fourtli direct, Fourtli in- 

Probable Faults.^— Curving the down- 
ward line too much ; making a curve in- 
stead of a straight line between the two 
crossings; making the loops of unequal 
length and width. 
Suggestions. — Practice upon this letter in combination with 
the small n. 

The Letter z is three spaces in length, and one- 
half space in width. The iirst curve and straight 
line are like those in the first part of the «., and one 
space in hight. A short upper turn is joined angu- 
larly to the base of the straight line, and is connected at the ruled 
line with a modification of the inverted loop. This modification 
consists in giving a little more than the ordinary curve to the 
line which forms the right side of the Tipper section of the loop. 

/y Analysis. — Principles : — Third, First, Fourth. 

Probable Faults. — Turn attoptoofuU; curve 
instead of straight line ; too wide a turn in con- 
necting straight line with loop. 
Suggestions. Practice writing the letter in combinations of 
four, paying special attention to the turns and straight line. 

The Letter/ is five spaces in length and one-half 
space in width. Three spaces are above the ruled 
line and two below. It is formed by combining a 
direct loop with a reversed inverted loop. The 
direct loop is pi-ecisely like the one in the letter h. 
The curve forming the right side of the lower loop 
crosses the straight line one-half space above the 



ruled line, and joins angularly with a right curve, whicli also 
crosses the straight line, and terminates one space above the ruled 
line, and one space to the right of the straight line. 

Analysis.— ^Principles : — Fourth, Fourth, Second. 

Probable Faults. — Loops too wide ; 

downward line too much curved; the 

last curve of the lower loop failing to 

cross the straight line, leaving the lower 

part of the letter open and incomplete. 

Suggestions. — Aim to make the downward line, from the top 

of the direct loop to the bottom of the inverted one, straight. 

Pay special attention to the finish. 





The foiir principles which form the distinctive features of the 
capital letters are the Full or Capital O, the Contracted Capital 
O, the Capital Loop and Capital Stem. 

The first four principles, which are used in combination with 
these to form the capital letters, have been already described. 

The Fifth Peinoiple, ok CAPnAL O, is made on the 
regular slant, and is compoged entirely of curved lines. 
Care should be taken in its formation to avoid the slight- 
" — est appearance of angularity. It is three spaces in 
bight. Its width, without shade, is one-half its slanting hight. '' 
Commencing three spaces above the ruled line, a full left curve 
is produced, extending to the ruled line, where it unites with 
a full right curve. This line is drawn upward very nearly ! 
to the hight of the first curve, joining a second left curve simi- 
lar to the first, which proceeds downward, and terminates one 
half space from the ruled line. The right and inner left curves 
bend equally. The distance between the outer and inner left 
curves, measured at one-half the hight of the letter, is one-fifth 
its entire width. 

Probable Faults. — Drawing the 
lower section of the first curve to 
the left, instead of to the right, ; 
thus marring the oval; making" 
space between second and third curves too wide. Terminatingjll 
with a straight line. 'A 

Suggestion. — Practice upon the oval exercise here . 
given with a steady motion of the pen. 



The Sixth Principle is the Contracted Capital 0. — 
It is made on the regular slant, and is three spaces in 
hight. Beginning at the top, a left curve is drawn 
extending to the raled line, the upper two-thirds being 
but slightly curved, the lower third increasing in fullness 
as it turns toward the right. At the base, it unites with 
a right curve, which is continued upward to one-half .the hight 
of the principle, where it joins a left curve, which extends down- 
ward, bends equally with the second curve, and completes the 

The distance between the two left curves, measured at one- 
half the hight of the oval, is one-fourth the width of the 

The Seventh Principle is the Capital Loop. It is 
three spaces in hight. A left curve begins one space 
above the ruled line, and extending upward two 
spaces, unites with a returning right curve. This 
line descends two spaces, then joins a second left curve, which 
extends upward, on the left side of the second curve, nearly to 
the hight of the principle. Crossing the right curve, it joins a 
second right curve, which descends to the ruled line, curving 
but slightly as it approaches the base. The loop, and last 
right curve, will form the Sixth Principle inverted. 

The spaces between the two right and the two left curves, 
should be equal to each other, and each equal to one-half the 
width of the loop. 

The terminating curve is frequently modified in combining it 
with other principles, as the forms of letters may require. 

The Eighth FrinAyiple is the Capital Stem. It 
is three spaces in hight. Beginning at the top, 
a slight left curve extends downward one-half the 
length of the principle, where it is joined to a 
right curve, which forms the right side of a reversed oval, 
made on a slant of 25°. The curve which forms the left side of 
the oval terminates near the first curve, at one-half the hight 
of the letter. The right and left curves of the oval bend equally. 
Its width, without shade, is one-half its length. 



All Capital Letters extend tliree spaces above the ruled line, 
and J and Z extend two spaces below. Nearly all tlie lines in 
capital letters are curves. ;.. 

Tlie Capital Letter E commences with a left curve,' j 
extending downward one-fourth the length of the 
letter ; then turning to the right, it unites with a 
right curve, extending upward, and crossing the first' 
curve near its beginning. At the top of the letter, this right curve 
joins a second left curve, which is continued downward one-thirJo 
the length of the letter ; then combines with a third left curve, 
by a small loop, made at right angles with the regular slant of 
the letter. The remaining portion of the letter, which is two- . 
thirds its entire length, is the direct Capital 0. 

The two spaces between the curves at the top of the letter are 
equal. The space between the two left curves in the lower part 
of the letter, equals one-fourth the width of the oval. 

A straight line, drawn on the regular slant through the middle 
of the letter, will pass through the middle of the first left curve, 
and divide the oval into two equal sections. 

This letter is composed entirely of curves. Cafe should be 
taken to avoid the least appearance of angularity. 

n c 

*• Analysis. — Principles: — Third, Second,'' 

Third, Fifth. 

Probable Faults. — Upper portion of 
/^ //'; u letter on wrong slant, the result of drawing"'' 
(_^ iLy (/y the first curve in wrong direction ; the sec- 
ond left curve too far to the right, throw- 
ing the loop on wrong slant, and flattening the left curve in the 
oval below ; disproportion between the upper and lower sectionsi' 


Suggestion. — Practice writing the letter within 
an oval, as in the annexed diagram. 



The Capital Letter D commences two spaces above 
the ruled line, witli a compound curve extending 
downward, and uniting by a short turn at the base, 
with a left curve, wliich is drawn to the right, cross- 
ing the first curve very near the ruled line. A narrow loop is 
thus formed, resembling the loop in the small letter e, made 
horizontally. After the crossing, the left curve unites at the 
ruled hne with a right curve, extending upward on the right 
of the stem, and crossing it near its top. This right curve is 
continued to the top of the letter, where it joins the first curve 
of a capital O which extends downward to within one-half space 
of the ruled line, and completes the letter. 

The space between the two curves on the right of the letter is 
one-sixth its entire width. The crossing of the loop is midway 
between the two points where the letter touches the ruled line. 
A straight line drawn on the regular slant through the middle 
of the letter, will divide the loop into two equal parts. 

Analysis. — Principles : — Third, Second, 
Third, Second, Fifth. 

Probable FomUs. — Stem too 
long and too much curved; too 
wide space between the stem and 
curve on the right ; too smaU oval 
on the left ; angular turning at top, marring the oval. 

Suggestion.— ^VvBiC^ce forming the letter within 
six equal spaces, as in the annexed diagram, re- 
membering that all its lines are curves, and that 
the general form of the letter is an oval. 
The Capital Letter C begins at the ruled line with 
a right curve, which extends upward three spaces, 
and then turning to the left, unites with a Con- 
tracted Capital O. This crosses the right curve two 
spaces from the top, forming a loop similar to that in small I. 

The space between the two left curves in the oval is equal to 
one-fourth its width. 


Analysis. — Principles : — Second, Sixth. 

Probable FoaiUs. — Too great 
slant of first curve and loop; 
too low crossing of loop; 
straight line ^n left sid^ of 
oval ; terminating curve too far from- second curve, or made too 
nearly straight, and extended below the ruled line. 

Sv^ggesUons. — ^Practice upon the right curve and Contracted 
Capital O, separately, until correct forms are secured ; then prac- 
tice upon them in combination. 

The Coital Letter H commences one space 
above the ruled line, with a left curve, which ex- 
tends upward to four-fifths the hight of the letter, 
then joins a right curve, extending downward to 
one-half the hight of the letter. This line unites with an ascending 
left curve, which crosses the right curve very near its top, forming 
a loop. At this point it unites with a descending right curve, 
which is continued to the ruled line, where it connects with a 
compound curve, which is drawn upward and to the right, cross- 
ing the descending curve, and extending to the hight of the 
letter. Here it unites with a Contracted Capital 0, which 
crosses the compound curve in descending, and completes the 
letter. The lower left and the right loop are of equal length 
and width, and the two sections of the letter are upon the same 

The spaces on each side of the first loop are each equal to the 
width of the loop, and also equal to the space between the two 
main portions of the letter. 

A horizontal line drawn through the letter at one-half its 
hight, touches the lower portion of the first loop, and the upper 
portion of the oval. 

This letter is also composed entirely of curves. 

. Analysis. — Principles : — Third, Secondj 
Third, Second, Third, Second, Sixth. 



Probable Faults. — Beginning with "too slight 
curve, carried too far to the right, producing an 
angular joining; carrying second left curve 
above the first ; giving too much slant to the 

compound curve which unites the two sections, and causing a 

disproportion between the parts of the letter. 

Suggestion. — Write the letter within four 
equal spaces, as in annexed diagram. 

The Capital Letter X is a combination ^of the 
Capital Loop and the Contracted Capital O, meet- 
ing at one-half their hight. Their original slant and 
proportions are preserved. 

Analysis. — Principles : — Seventh, Sixth. 

Probable Faults. — Making the ovals, 
turns, and curves angular, produced by 
a cramped position, or a quick, nervous 
motion of the hand ; beginning second 
section too far from first, and failing to unite them. 

Suggestions.— Pvaatice thoroughly upon the 
inverted and direct ovals, as in diagram, en- 
deavoring to secure ease of position, and free and 
uniform motion of the hand, arm, and fingers. 
This will enable the writer to form ovals properly in all' capital 

The Capital Letter Z is five spaces in length- 
three spaces being above the ruled line and two 
below it. It begins with a Capital Loop, which ex- 
tends to the ruled line, where it is joined to a left 
curve, rising one-half space and crossing the last 
curve of the Capital Loop, forming a small loop. 
The left curve is then united to a modification of the extended 
inverted loop, as in the small letter z. 


Analysis. — Principles : — Seventli, Ttird, Fourth. ,;» 

Probable Faults. — Mating curves angular, 
particularly in first part; drawing third curve 
above first ; drawing lower loop too far to the left; 
failing to carry last curve to proper hight. 

Suggestions. — Draw three straight lines as in dia- 
gram, taking care to make the two first left curves, 
both left of short straight Hne, and in forming lower 
loop, to be governed by slant of long straight line. 

The Capital Letter Q commences with the Capital 
Loop, which is slightly modified by drawing its ter- 
minating curve toward the left, to a point directly 
under the oval. A horizontal loop is then formed, 
similar to the one in the base of the Capital D, and the letter 
is finished with a compound curve, rising to the hight of one 
space to the right of the main portion of the letter. This letter 
touches the ruled line at the middle of the horizontal loop, and 
also at a point in the finishing curve. The crossing of the lower 
loop is midway between these two points. 

A line drawn on the regular slant through the middle of the 
Capital Loop, will divide the horizontal loop into two equal parts. 

Analysis. — Principles : — Seventh, Third, Second. 

Probable Faults. — In upper portion, 
same as in X and Z ; in lower part, faihng 
to draw last curve in Capital Loop suffi- 
ciently to the left, making lower loop slant- 
ing instead of horizontal ; forming an extra oval in finishingi 
which destroys the proportions of the letter, and prevents its 
union with the following 'letter. 


SuggesUons. — Practice faithfully upon the Seventh Principle, 
taking care to make the second upward curve cross below the 
top of the oval ; also practice upon the compound curve in a 
horizontal position. 

The Capital Letter TF commences with the Capi- 
tal Loop. A right curve is joined angularly to its 
base, and is continued upward three spaces, then 
joins angularly with a slight left curve, descending 
to the ruled line on a slant of 60°. At its base, it is united to a 
left curve, which rises two spaces, and turning a little to the 
right, terminates in a dot, made on the regular slant. 

Measured at one-half the hight of the letter, the three spaces 
on the right of the Capital Loop are equal. 

Analysis. — Principles : — Seventh, Second, 
Third. Third. 

Probable Faults. — In Capital Loop, 
same as in former letters containing this 
principle ; and further, giving the loop 
too little slant ; right curve leading from 
the base of Capital Loop, carried too far to the right, throw- 
ing the descending left curve out of proper slant, and making 
the letter too wide at top and too naiTOw at base. 

Suggestions. — ^Practice upon the Capital Loop, aiming to give 
if more than its usual slant ; then upon the other portion of the 
letter, aiming to make it upright.- 

The Capital Letter Y commences with a Capi- 
tal Loop, which is slightly modified at the base 
by a turn to the right, connecting it with a com- 
pound curve extending upward two spaces, and 
terminating with a dot as in W. 

Measured upon a straight line, drawn at right angles with the 
regular slant through the middle of the loop, the letter may be 
divided into five equal spaces. 



Anah/sis. — Principles :— Seventli, Second, Third.-. 

Probable Fcmlts. — Downward lines 
too close to eacli other ; second down- 
ward line made a full componnd 
curve ; turn at base too wide, or made 

Suggestions. — Practice exercise in diagram, giving 
special attention to slants, and turn at base. 

The Capital Letter TT begins with a modified 
Capital Loop, as in F. It unites in a turn at the 
base with a right curve, extending upwa.rd two- 
thirds the hight of the letter. A slanting straight 
line retraces the right curve one-half the length of the letter, and 
continuing to the ruled line, unites by a lower turn with a right 
curve, drawn upward one space. 

The last two right curves are similar. 

The width of the letter may be divided into six equal spaces, 
as per diagram. 


-Principles : — Seventh, Second, First, 

Probable Faults. — Same in first part as in F; 
straight line slanting too much, and retracnlg 
curved line too near to its base. * 

Suggestion. — Practice upon the parts separately, as in the 

The Capital Letter T' commences with a Capital 
Loop, its last line extending downward to a point 
three-fourths of the length of the letter from its topF 
where it unites in a turn- with a right curve, which 
is continued upward to two-thirds the hight of the letter. It here 



joins angularly with a capital stem, -which extends to the ruled 
line, and terminates in a dot one-sixth the hight of the letter 
from its base. 

A straight line, drawn on the regular slant through the last 
line of the Capital Loop, wiU touch the right side of the dot. 

The width of the letter may be measured as in the U. 

Analysis. — Principles : — Seventh, Second, Eighth. 

/o,. ^ Probable Faults. — "Wrong slant, and short- 

/yy ^/y ^^^^ ^^ -^^^^ ^°® ^^ Capital Loop ; Capital 

^j/ y Stem made without compound curve, and on 

wrong slant ; dot of Capital Stem made upon, 

or below ruled line, instead of above it. 

Suggestion. — Practice upon the parts of the letter separately, 
as represented in the analysis. 

One form of the Coital Letter JTis made in the 
following manner ; — ^It begins with a Capital Loop, 
the lower half of the last line made straight. A left 
curve retraces this line, separating from it one space 
above the ruled line, and continuing to two-thirds the hight of 
the letter, where it unites, by an upper turn, with a straight line, 
which, descending on the regular slant, joins by a lower turn at 
its base with a right curve. This rises one space, and completes 
the letter. 

The entire width of the letter is equal to eight times the dis- 
tance between its first two curves. 

One form of the Capital Letter M is made as 
follows : — The first two sections are like the first 
two in Capital JST, the straight line being con- 
tinued to the ruled line. This is retraced one- 
half space by a left curve, rising to one-half the hight of the 
letter, and uniting by an upper turn with another straight line. 
This line unites by a lower turn, at the base, with a right curve, 
rising one space,- and completing the letter. 

The entire width of the letter is equal to ten times the dis- 
tance between its first two curves. 


• * 

The Capital Letter A commences -with a Capi- 
tal Stem, wliicli joins angularly at top with a 
slight left curve, terminating on tlie ruled line. A 
Bhort left curve commences on tlie line last formed, 
one space above the ruled line, and descending toward the left 
one-half space, unites with the short right curve, which crosses 
the main left curve, and terminates to the right of it, one space 
above the ruled line. 

Analysis. — Principles : — Eighth, Third, 
Third, Second. 

Prdhahl-e Fandts. — Capital Stem 
too much curved in upper and 
lower sections ; beginning with an 
upward movement, forming an 
extra curve at top ; main portion of the first line straight, in- 
stead of curved ; angular turning at lower end of the oval ; mak- 
ing oval upright ; finishing Capital Stem with a vertical line 
crossing the base of the oval, and the ruled line ; faHiug to con- 
nect the two main portions of the letter at top. 

Suggestions. — As the Capital Stem forms a prominent feature 
in thirteen of the capital letters, the faults occurring in its for- 
mation should receive special attention. 

The form and proportions of this principle must be clearly im.'' 
pressed upon the mind by careful study, and the hand should be 
trained to execute it by thorough and persevering practice. We 
recommend the following plan : Using the whole arm movement, 
make the principle twice the hight of Capital Letters; after- 
ward, with the combined movement, make it the usual size. 
"Writing a few groups only will not serve the purpose. Time 
will not be wasted if the efibrt be a thousam.d times repeated,ihe 
writer striving to render each form more nearly perfect than the 

They should be of uniform size, and at equal distances from, 
each other. 



The 8tanda/rd Capital Letter N begins with 
a Capital Stem, united at top witli a downward 
left curve, as in A. This portion of the letter is 
joined by a turn at base, to a left curve, rising 
two spaces, and terminating in a dot, as in Y. 

Measured at the middle hight of the letter, the space between 
the two left curves is equal to the space between Capital Stem 
and first left curve. 

Analysis. — ^Principles : — Eighth, Third, Third. 

Probable Fanilts. — This letter has the faults 
common to the Capital Stem, and in addition- to 
these, the following : The base of the descending 
left curve brought too near to the Capital Stem ; 
ascending left curve carried too far to the right ; turn at the 
union of the left curves too wide. 

Siiggestion. — ^Practice thoroughly upon the principles as given 
in the analysis. 

In the Standard Capital Letter M the Capi- 
tal Stem and descending left curve are united, 
as in iV^. The left curve is joined in a short 
turn at base to an ascending left curve, which 
rises to the hight of the letter,' the upper portion being on the 
same slant as the first curve in the Capital Stem, and similar to it. 
It unites angularly at the top with the Contracted Capital 0, 
which completes the letter. 

The ovals right and left of the downward lines are of equal 
hight, and the three spaces between the four curves at the mid- 
dle hight of the letter, are equal. 

Analysis. — Principles: — Eighth, Third, 
Third, Sixth. 

Probable Faults. — Same as in iV^/ 
and further, second left curve retracing 
first; spaces too narrow or too wide 

between Capital Stem and Contracted Capital O ; Last section of 

the letter too short, or on wrong slant. 



Suggestion. — Practice upon the parts separately as represented 
in the analysis. 

^j_^^ TJie Capital Letter T commences two spaces 
/^ above the ruled Une with a left curve, rising one 
/^^ / space, and uniting by a turn with a slantiBg 

■^ ^— straight line, which descends one-fourth the dis- 

tance to the ruled line, then joins angularly to a compound curve,! 
made horizontally. This curve unites with a Capital Stem, -with 
the upper curve slightly increased. It crosses the compound 
curve, forming a small loop, then descending to the ruled line 
completes the letter. The short straight line; if continued to 
the ruled line, would pass through the middle of the oval in the 
Capital Stem. 

^naZysis. ^Principles : 
Second, Eighth. 

Third, First, Third, 

Probable Faults. — The compotmd curve in the top 
too long; the faults' of straightening the downward 
line in the Capital stem, making it too nearly perpen- 
dicular, and contracting the oval, are especially liable to occur 
in this letter. 

Suggestion. — Practice upon the parts of the letter separately, 
observing the proportionate length and position of lines. 

The Capital JLetter F is the same as the 7, 
with the addition of a left curve one-half space 
in length, made on the regular slant, on the right 
side of the stem, opposite the termination of the 


Analysis. — Principles : 
Second, Eighth, Third. 

-Third, First, Third, 

Probable Faults. — The same mistakes are 
liable to occur in forming this letter as in the 
T., and the finish is often made too long, too 
far from the stem, and on the wrong slant. 
Suggestions. — Same as in T. Aim to make the finish neat and 
well defined. 


The Capital Letter Zcommences one space above 
tlie ruled line with a left curve, rising one space, 
then joining a right curve, which descends one 
space. This curve here unites with a second 
ascending left curve, which divides the oval into two equal sec- 
tions, and crosses it at its top, rising one space above it. 

It here unites with a Capital Stem, which, in descending, 
passes through the middle of the loop in the oval. 

Analysis. — ^Principles : — Third, Second, Third, 

Probable Faults. — Beginning with too 

^^^^ y-^f/ slight a curve, carried too far to the 

^^-p/^ ^y i^ght, producing angular turning in loop ; 

Capital Stem retracing second left curve, 

producing angular top; majdng loop at top, instead of turn; 

stem made on the right of loop. The letter is also liable to the 

faults peculiar to the stem. 

Suggestions. — Practice upon the parts of the letter separately. 
Also practice writing it twice its usual size with the arm move- 

The Capital Letter J is five spaces in length, three 
spaces being above the ruled line, and two below it. 
The upper portion of the letter is like that of the /. 
The lower portion of the letter is a modification of 
the inverted loop, extending two spaces below the 
ruled line. Its left curve crosses the main line of the letter one- 
half space above the ruled line. 

Analysis. — Principles : — Third, Second, Third, 
Third, Fourth. 

Probable Faults. — The faults of the / are 
also liable to occur in this letter; and 
further, the downward line too much curved ; 
the loop finished below the ruled line. 


Suggestions. — Take special care to make first curve full, turn 
at top short, and main line through middle of small loop. To 
correct too much curve in downward line, endeavor to make it 
straight, and to correct too low crossing, cross one space above 
ruled line. 

The Capital Letter S begins upon the ruled line 
with a right curve, extending upward three spaces. 
It then miites in a turn with a Capital Stem, which 
crosses the right curve midway between the top of the 
letter and the ruled line. The upper and lower sections of the 
compound curve are very much increased in fullness. This con- 
stitutes a distinctive feature of the Capital S. The right and 
left sides of the oval are equally curved, and the oval is divided 
into two equal sections by the right curve. 

Analysis. — Principles : — Second, Eighth. 

Probable Faults. — Downward line made 
nearly straight, producing angular turning 
at base, marring the oval, and dividing it 
unequally upon left and right of first curve; 
making loop too short, or too long. 

Suggestions. — Give special attention to fullness of compound 
curve in Capital Stem, guarding against straightness of line, pai- 
ticiilarly at the crossing. 

The Capital Letter L is like the S, from its he- 
ginning to its return to the ruled line. From this 
point, a returning compound curve crosses the stem, 
forming a loop, and again touching the ruled line, 
terminates one space above it. The last curve resembles that in 
the Capital Letter Q. The first curve divides the horizontal loop 
into two equal sections. 

Analysis. — Principles : — Second, Eighth, 
Third, Second. 


Probable FavMs. — All those peculiar to 
the Capital Stem ; finishing curve crossing 
stem too far above ruled line, and render- 
ing it difficult to combine this with a fol- 
lowing letter ; horizontal loop made to the right of first curve ; 
oval finish on right of stem. 

Suggestions. — After completing the upper loop take special 
care in producing the curve to the ruled line, bending it gradu- 
ally to the right, and then returning towards the left, until it 
passes across the first curve of the letter. This will give the 
lower loop its proper position. 

The Capital Letter G begins at the ruled line 
with a right curve, extending upward three spaces, 
and joining in a turn with a left curve, which de- 
scends two-thirds the length of the letter, where it 
crosses the first curve, forming a loop. The last line is then 
joined in a broad turn to a right curve, extending upward to 
half the hight of the letter. This curve joins angularly to a 
Capital Stem, with its upper portion omitted. 

The distance from the right side of the loop to the top of the 
Capital Stem, is equal to one and a half times the width of the 
loop. A little more than half of the oval in the Capital Stem is 
on the right of the first curve. 

Analysis. ■ — Principles : — Second, Third, 
Second, Eighth. 

Prdbahle Faults. — Loop too short ; stem too long ; 

oval too large ; left side of loop nearly straight, and 

followed by angular turn at base. 

Suggestions. — ^Practice upon first portion and Capital Stem 

separately, observing curves, turns, proportions and slant ; then 

combine the parts, and practice the letter in a magnified form 

with the arm movement. 

The Capital Letter K begins with a right curve, 
extending upward three spaces, and connecting 
angularly with a Capital Stem at its top. The 
second section begins at the full hight of the let- 



ter with a compound curve, which is drawn towards the Capital 
Stem, touching it at its middle hight, and connecting at this 
point with another compound curve, by a small loop, made across 
the Capital Stem on a slant of 52° to the left of the perpendicular. , 
This compound curve extends to the ruled line, uniting at the base 
with a compound curve, extending upward one space, and com- 
pleting the letter. 

Analysis. — Principles : — Second, 
Eighth, Third, Second, Second, 
Third, Second, Third. 

ProboMe Faults. — Curv- 
ing Capital Stem too much 
to the right of first curve ; 
upper compound curve in 
second section too full ; loop too long, on wrong slant, or not at 
middle hight of letter ; last downward curve nearly perpendicu- 
lar ; right section of letter not connected with Capital Stem. 

Suggestions. — Practice upon the two sections separately, ob- 
serving closely the proportions of each; then combine them, 
taking care to preserve proper slant of parts. 

The Capital Letter P commences two and a half 
spaces above the ruled line with a Capital Stem, 
which connects at its base with a full left curve, 
continued to the hight of the letter, and similar to 
, the left side of an inverted Capital O. At the top, it unites 
with a right curve, which crosses the Capital Stem, and extend- 
ing downward to half the hight of the letter, recrosses the 
Capital Stem, and unites with a short left curve, which termi- 
nates with a dot upon the stem. 

The distance between the stem and the curve on the right is 
one-fifth the width of the letter. 

Analysis. — Principles : 
Second, Third. 

Eighth, TMrd, 


^v^ ^^ Probable Faults. — Drawing Capital 

//^ /a^^^ Stem too far to the left, producing angular 

X/ // turning at base, and making letter on wrong 

slant ; too slight curve on the left ; letter 

too narrow on the. left side of the stem, and too wide on the 

right in upper portion ; angular turning at top. 

Suggestions. — To correct faults in Capital Stem and turns, 
take special care to make stem on regular . slant, and turns 
rounding and full, as in a well-proportioned oval. Practice 
writing the letter in a magnified form with the whole arm 
movement. This exercise is admirably adapted to secure full- 
ness of curves. 

The Capital Letter B has the form and propor- 
tions of the Capital P to the point where the right 
curve touches the Capital Stem. A small loop is 
^ — there formed across the stem, on an angle of 52° to 
the left of the perpendicular, and the letter is completed with a 
reversed oval on the regular slant, the base extending a little 
below the ruled line, and its last curve terminating opposite the 
small loop. 

Measured upon a line drawn at right angles with the regular 
slant, at one-half the hight of the oval, the space between the 
Capital Stem, and right side of oval, is one-third the width of 
the oval, and one-fifth the width of the letter. 

Analysis. — Principles : — Eighth, Third, Second, 
Second, Third. 

Probable Faults. — It is liable to all those enume- 
rated in Capital P ; loop too large and broad, and 
on wrong slant, causing the downward line to curve 
too far from the Capital Stem. 
Suggestions. — ^Notice suggestions for faults in Capital P; give 
careful attention to form and position of loop, and practice writ- 
ing the letter with the whole arm movement. 

~> The Capital Letter B is precisely like the Capi- 

tal B, as far as the upper end of the loop. The 
C/l remainder is like the last portion of the Capital K. 


X Analysis. — Principles: — ^Eightli, Third, Second, 

/y Second, Third, Second, Third. 

Probable Faults. — Same in stem, oval and loop, 

as in P and B ; large oval in finishing resting 

upon ruled line, destroying the balance of the 

letter, and preventing its combination with the 

following letter at proper distance ; either or both sections of 

the descending compound curve in the last portion of the letter 

too full. 

Suggestions. — Same as for P and B. For faults in termina- 
tion, aim at producing nearly a straight line from loop to base. 



In every variety of writing, and especially in that required in 
business, the frequent recurrence of figures demands that par- 
ticular attention be given to their structure. 

The importance of exhibiting clearly correct results in all busi- 
ness transactions, renders it necessary that the characters which 
represent these results, should be made perfectly legible. It may 
be that " figures are facts," and " do not lie ;" but, as they are 
frequently formed, they certainly tell some very dubious truths. 

The distinctive features of each figure should be so preserved, 
that no libability of mistaking one for another need ever occur. 

They should be made neatly, and when shaded, care should be 
taken to make the shades imiform. 

The use of shades depends mainly upon the kind of pen em- 
ployed in making the figures. If it has a point producing a fine 
Kne, smooth and uniform shading adds to the beauty and char- 
acter of the figures ; but if a pen having a heavy and coarse' 
point is used, shading may be omitted altogether. 

Careful attention to proper slant, and equal spacing, will tend 
to secure neatness of appearance, and the convenience of the 
accountant in reading and adding long columns, will depend 
very much upon both these points. 

The 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 8 and are each one space in hight. The 
7, 9 and 6 may be extended, at the pleasure of the writer. 

The Figure 1 is taken as a standard for the measurement 
/ of hight or length. It consists simply of a straight line, on 
the regular slant, one space in hight. 

Analysis. — ^Principle : — First. 

/ (yf Probable Faults. — "Wrong slant ; commencing with a 
curved line on the left, causing it to look like 9 or 7. 


80 P I GJJ R E S . 

The Figure 2 commences nearly one space above tlie ruled 
line, with a right curve extending downward to half the 
hight of the figure, and joining a left curve, which is drawn 
upward one half space. Passing over the first right ctu-ve, it 
joins a second right curve, which descends to the ruled line,, 
where it unites with a returning compound curve, which crosses 
the right curve, forming a small loop. The figure terminates in 
a short right curve* It has the general appearance of the Capi- 
tal Letter Q, with the first curve omitted. 

Analysis. — Principles : — Second, .Third, Second, Third, 

PrdbaMe Faults. — ^Commencing with an upward move- 
ment, forming left curve, instead of right ; making oval 
angular ; second right curve on wrong slant ; loop too large. 
The Fiyv/re 3 ; the first three curves are diminished forms 
(^ of the first three in figure 2 ; the second right curve uniting 
with a small left curve, and forming a small loop, at two- 
thirds the hight of the letter. The lower section is a reversed 
oval, made on the regular slant, and extending to the ruled fine. 
This figure resembles a reversed Capital Letter E, with the 
last curve omitted. This figure is composed entirely of curved 

Analysis. — Principles : — Second, Third, Second, Second, 

PrdbaMe Faults. — Beginning with an upward move- 
^ J ment ; angular turnings at top and base ; bend, instead of 
loop ; disproportion of parts. 

The Figure 4 begins three-fourths of a space from the 
// ruled line, with a slight right curve, made on the regular 
slant, one-half space in length. This joins angularly with 
a slight left curve, one-half space in length, made horizontally. 
The figure is finished with a line drawn on the regular slant, 
from the top of the figure to its base, through the middle of the 
. left curve. From the top to the crossing, this line is a very slight 
left curve ; the remainder is straight. 

Analysis.— Prmd^les, :— Second, Third, Third, First. 

(, Probable Faiilts. — Too upright; last line carried below 
ruled line ; loop uniting last two lines. 


The Figure 5 begins one space above the ruled line with 

(rf a slight right curve, one-third of a space in length, which 

unites with a small left curve, forming a small loop. 

The lower part of the figure is an oval, like that in figure 3. It 

. is finished with a straight horizontal hne, one-fourth of a space 

in length, drawn from the top of the figure towards the right. 

Analysis. — ^Principles : — Second, Second, Third, First. 

^/ Probable Faults. — Disproportion of parts. 

J cJ J This figure is often formed of a compound curve 
angularly turned ; top an upward curve, discon- 
nected with the main portion of the figure ; oval imperfect. 

, The Figure 6 begins one and a half spaces above the 
£? ruled line, with a slight left curve, extending to its base, 
where it unites with a right curve, drawn upward to one- 
half the hight of the figure. It here unites with a second left 
curve, drawn to the right of the first, and terminating near the 
ruled line. The space between the first and second left curves is 
equal to one-third the width of the oval. This figure resembles 
the Contracted Capital 0, the oval being somewhat narrower. 
Analysis. — Principles : — Third, Second, Third. 

Probable Faults. — Figure too much curved ; wrong 
y^ ^^ slant ; last curve crossing first, and brought below 

ruled line. 
^^ The Figure 7 is one and a half spaces in length. It 
/ commences one space above the ruled hne, with a straight 
downward line, one-fourth of a space in length. This is 
united angularly with a compound cuj-ve, made horizontally one- 
half space in length. Joining a smaU left curve, a loop is formed, 
and the figure is completed with a straight line, continued one- 
half space below the ruled line. The first third of this line 
may be slightly curved, if preferred. The upper portion of the 
figure resembles the top of the Capital T. 

^nfflZysis.— Principles :— First, Third, Second, Third, First. 

Probable Faults.— Tci^ too wide ; loop too large ; 
'-~~f '^ figure on wrong slant, or too upright ; right hori- 
-/ ' zontal curve, instead of compound curve, making 
figure resemble 9. 


The Figure 8 begins two-thirds of a space from the 
O ruled line, witli a right curve, extending upward one-third 
of a space, and joining a compound curve, which descends 
to the ruled line. This curve unites, at the base of the figure, 
with a left curve, which crosses the compound curve at a little 
more than half its hight, and also crosses the first right curve, 
terminating at the hight of the figure. 

Analysis. — Principles : — Second, Third, Second; Third. 

. Probahle Faults. — ^Beginning with a downward line ; 

f crossing too low, making lower loop too small ; drawing 

last curve too far to the right, leaving figure open at side. 

The Figure 9 is one and a half spaces in length. It he- 

Y gins with a pointed oval as in the small letter a, extending 

downward three-fourths of a space. From the top of this a 

straight line on a regular slant is drawn, extending one-half 

space below the ruled Hne. 

Many excellent writers and accountants prefer to make the 6, 
Y, and 9 of the same length as the other figures. When this is 
done, care should be taken to preserve the proportions in oval, 
straight line, and curve. 
Analysis. — ^Principles: — Third, Second, First. 

/^ Probahle Faults. — Ton otip.ti ! on wronc filant,: too 



In combining letters so as to form words, it can not be expe& 
ted that a rapid business penman "will stop to calculate all the 
nice variations of lines and spaces between letters and words. 

Many leading business writers are guided by one simple rule, 
namely : to make the space between the letters equal to the dis- 
tance between the straight lines in the n or u, and between 
words twice this distance. But there are several specific direc- 
tions which may, we think, be followed, with manifest improve- 
ment, in the matter of spacing, without aflfecting freedom and 
rapidity of execution. 

Letters are combined with either simple or compound curves. 
When the simple curve is employed, and in all cases where let- 
ters are joined from top to top, by either the right or the left 
curve, the space between them is equal to the distance between 
the straight lines in n or ii,, as ou, nu, 7ni. 

When the compound curve occurs, the space is one-third 
greater, as in un, avi, hy. 

Exception. When the first letter has a loop below the ruled 
line, the space is the same as if the connecting curve were sim- 
ple, as in gh, ye. 

When an oval is joined to a straight line, the space should be 
measured from the middle of the oval, as in ou ; and when two 
ovals are united, the space should be calculated from the mid- 
dle of the first to the left side of the second oval. 

The distance between a capital and the first small letter in the 
same word, is one space. 

The distance between capitals used as initials, is one space, 
which is to be measured between the .points that approach near- 



est to each other in the different letters. Where there is a com- 
bination, and running together of initial letters, as in many sig- 
natures, no direction for spacing is applicable, since the character 
of the design depends entirely upon the taste of the writer. 

The distance between words, when the first terminates, and 
the second begins, with like curves, is two spaces, measured 
between the straight lines. However, if the distance between 
the curves be measured, it will be only one space. 

When a word terminating with a curve, is followed by a word 
beginning with a different curve, the distance between the 
straight lines is two and one-third spaces, and between the curves 
one and one-third spaces, as in the words in vie. 

When the last letter of one word, and the first of the next are 
ovals, or when only one of the letters is an oval, the space 
between them should be measured according to the directions 
previously given for uniting ovals. 

The distance between sentences, in the same paragraph, is 
three spaces. 

The distance between figures is usually one-third of a space. 



"When a knowledge of forms, and the power to execute them, 
are fully acquired, it is proper to enter upon the study of the 
rules pertaining to shade. When, therefore, anything which is 
useful, is at the same time made attractive, the mind is then 
ready to accept it, and apply it to practice. 

The power of appreciating what is beautiful seems inherent 
in every mind, although tastes, within certain limitations, may 
differ in their requirements. 

If we would have Penmanship both attractive and useful, and 
its study pleasing, we cannot depend entirely upon correctness of 
form for imparting to it these qualities. 

Light letters, when properly formed, are in themselves beauti- 
ful ; yet, when combined, as on the written page, they produce 
a monotonous effect. 

To break up this monotony, and produce something which 
will please the eye, and gratify the taste, light and dark lines 
should be mingled, so as to present an agreeable contrast. 

Shade, however, not being essential to form^ may be used, or 
omitted, at the option of the writer. Many accountants and 
book-keepers prefer to write without shade, in order that they 
may more easily preserve the neat general appearance of their 
work, and, also, that they may more readily erase errors in words, 
letters, or figures. 

Were all writing executed with heavy downward lines, as in 
the old-fashioned round hand, it would possess no more beauty 
than if the lines- were uniformly light, since excess of shade as 
effectually destroys the contrast, as its entire omission. 

It is the graceful blending of light and shade which gives life 
and beauty to the productions of the artist, and renders paintings 
fountains of delight, from which the eye of the beholder may 




drini, and never weary. And wliat ia writing but the picture- 
work of thought. 

The principles involved in the subject of shading are few, and 
their application depends mainly upon a right exercise of judg- 
ment and taste. For the sake of convenience, we have arranged 
and numbered the shades according to their appearance upon a 
straight line or curve. 

The first shade on a straight line is made heavy 

at the top, but gradually diminishes, until it reaches 

the ruled line. 

The second is the reverse of this, being light at 
the top, and increasing gradually to its base. 

The third is upon a straight line, where there is 
a turn at base. This shade increases gradually two- 
thirds of its length, then tapers to the turn. 

The fourth is upon a straight line, where there 
is a turn both at top and base. 

This shade must taper equally toward the turns. 

Yh& fifth shade, which occurs only upon curved lines, in every 
ease increases and diminishes gradually, the heaviest part being 
found in the middle of the curve. 

The shade upon different letters in the same line, or upon the 
same page, should generally be of uniform strength ; though, as a 
matter of taste, a half shade is often made. 

The principles of shading above given are applicable to the 
various styles of letters ; but we will here specify where they 
occur in the standard letters, which we present on the plate of 
Medium Hand. Page, 39. 

Small Letters. — The short letters are usually left unshaded, 
though the small letter a, in certain combinations, sometimes 
receives a shade. 


The shade upon t and d is heaviest at top, tapering gradually 
to the lower turn. 

The shade of the small letter^ is the reverse of t, commencing 
on the ruled line, and continuing to the base of the letter. 

"When two p's, d's or fs come together, the first is shaded, 
while the second receives a half shade only. These letters have 
the preference in shading, hence, small loop letters, immediately 
connected with them, are not shaded ; for example : th, dl. 

In the g and q, the shade is made on the left side of the pointed 
oval ; in h and ^, upon the short straight line which occurs in the 
finish of these letters ; in y and s, upon the first short straight 
line at their top. 

The shade of the letters I and h begins at the middle point of 
the downward line in each, and extends to the lower turn. 

"When two Vs or Vs are united, the first only is shaded. 

The shade of the f begins at the middle point of the down- 
ward line, and continues to the turn at the base. 

The j and the long s are never shaded. If they were, the 
shade would be out of place, when compared with the other 
small letters. 

Capital Letters are usually shaded only upon one curve ; but 
when large capitals are made, in which bold curves are used, the 
two downward curves in the ovals are sometimes shaded. This, 
however, is not generally admissible in business writing. 

The is shaded upon the first curve, the E upon the third, 
and the D upon the curve on the left of the oval. 

The O has its shade upon the first downward curve. Its deep- 
est shade is a little below the middle of the curve. 

The H is shaded upon the first and third downward curves. 

The following letters, X, Z, Q, W, V, d, Y, are all shaded 
upon the second downward curve, though some other shades 
may be introduced without detracting from the beauty of the 
letters. If other shades are used, care must be taken to preserve 
uniformity and proportion. 

The following letters, A, iT, M, T, F, I, J, S, Z, G, E, P, 
5, and R, are all shaded upon the Capital Stem. — {See Plate of 
Medium Hand.) 

The shade begins at one-half the bight of the stem, increases 


gradually half way to the ruled line, then gradually diminishea 
till it reaches the base of the letter. A shght additional shade 
is made upon the short straight line in the beginmng of T and 
F. In the J, shade begins at the base of the upper loop, and is 
made heaviest at the middle point of the lower loop. 

Probable Faults in Shading. — Beginning or terminating too 
abruptly ; shading every downward line, causing the writing to 
look heavy, and impeding rapidity of execution. The tendency 
in shading is toward a straight line ; hence, care must be taken 
in forming ovals, not to make them too narrow, or the shaded 
curve less than its opposite. The advantage of giving beginners 
light forms for models thus becomes apparent. 



Soon the untaught hand that feebly guides the pen 
Shall sweep the oarve in busier haunts of men ; 
Where each day's doings on hfe's active stage, 
Arrayed in light, shall crown the well-writ page. — p. a 8. 

Of all the manifold uses of the pen, that in which it is made 
subservient to the wants of every day life should unquestionably 
hold the highest rank. While beautiful and elegant penmanship 
gives evidence of taste and skill, business writing may be said to 
sway the world ! Easy and graceful in its proportions, it is as 
attractive as it is useful. Plain to the eye, conveying thought 
with electric speed to the reader's mind, its perusal gives genuine 
satisfaction to all to whom it is addressed. 

Men in the world of commerce, who transact business daily 
with those who are known to them only through the medium of 
letters, involuntarily form opinions based upon the character of 
the writing of their correspondents. If it is firm, free and legi- 
ble, it inspires a well-grounded confidence in the general ability 
of the writer, and gives an assurance that he will do well what- 
ever his hand finds to do. 

■It would seem that an accomplishment so desirable, placed 
within the reach of all, would be almost universally acquired; 
but it must be acknowledged, that while all admit its practical 
utility, and long to share in the benefits it confers, it is really" 
attained by comparatively few. The great majority of those 
who buy and sell, who indite briefs, and send manuscripts to the 
press, whose writing forms the niost essential feature in their 
pursuits, and whose letters are sent over land and sea, often fail 
to attain even legibihty in their penmanship. 



Masses of documents now lying in the dead letter office, would 
long since have reached their destinations, if the hieroglypliics 
upon their covers could have been deciphered. 

Publishing houses could also give testimony in regard to many 
of their correspondents, whose remittances were the only intelli- 
gible things their letters contained. 

The cause of this unfortunate deficiency in an art so fraught 
with interest to all, may well be a subject of inquiry; 

The school boy patiently submits to the various tasks imposed 
upon him, drawing letters year after year, by a slow, laborioua 
process, and acquiring at last what is often termed a " school-boy 
hand," which is wholly unsuited to business, and which may soon 
merge into irregular, untidy, illegible scrawls. The instruction 
has ceased ; and, with all the pains it cost, it leaves him where 
he should have begun. He possesses no independence, because 
he has for years been constrained to servile imitation ; and when 
the ruled lines and copies are withdrawn, he is without chart or 
compass, and wonders that he should have so easily forgotten what 
was acquired with so much difficulty. 

In truth he has never really learned to write ; he has merely 
been taught to imitate. 

How to acquire a good business hand-wrifing, is a question 
the importance of which can not easily be over-estimated, 
Numerous answers have been given, and many systems have 
been devised, which must be judged by their fruits. It is a mat- 
ter of regret that many who furdish systems for the use of others 
themselves present unfortunate illustrations of the effects of their 
own erroneous ideas. 

By presenting the learner with only mathematically exact 
copies, made according to arbitrary rules, and . requiring him 
from the beginning to the termination of his school career, to 
work after them, until he can produce a fine looking copy bookj 
he may, indeed, according to this standard, become a fair writer; 
but certain it is that such a method destroys every germ of 
originality, and renders independent action, and consequently a 
good business style of writing, impossible. 

We can not omit the notice here, of experiments in a limited 
series of books with drawn copies, having a display of imperfect 


forms over each copy, designed to warn the ptipil against the 
faults portrayed, but really, too often, on account of their promi- 
nence, tempting him to their imitation, to the neglect of the 
regular copy, which, from its extremely complicated character, 
should certainly receive his undivided attention. 

Still another theory is presented to the public, which teaches 
a purely " muscndar movement,^^ and is defined to be the action 
of the fore-arm alone ; it being assumed that the easy and natu- 
ral action of the wrist and fingers in connection with the fore- 
arm would prevent good writing. That such a movement is 
unnatural, diflScult to acquire, and ill-adapted to the construction 
of all classes of letters, the reasonable will admit when it is fairly 

Thus it would seem that theories are not wanting ; but we look 
in vain among those who originate or practice them, for the rep- 
resentative business penmen of our land. 

It is not claiming too much for the Spencerian, to say that to 
this system the majority of the best business writers throughout' 
the country are indebted for their attainments in penmanship. 
Guided by its models and teachings, thousands in public schools 
and commercial colleges are preparing to take an honorable 
position in the business world. 

The true Spencerian differs from other systems, in being a 
natural growth produced by the necessities of business, and, 
therefore, especially adapted to its wants. It gives to the learner, 
not an idea of a fixed, unvarying engraver^s form, but the pro- 
duet of skillful living hands ; a representation of the every-day 
work which he must ere long perform. 

After an easy position has been acquired, and a free and well 
regulated action of the arm, hand, and fingers has been secured 
through appropriate exercises, then thorough training and instruc- 
tion in systematic writing should be given, the models for which 
may be suiSciently accurate and uniform to bear the test of the 
glass and dividers. 

This preliminary instruction establishes only the ground work 
of a business hand. 

The accurate models must be followed by free, flowing copies, 
loose with proportion, graceful and easy, inspiring the pupil to 


execute in a " carelessly careful " manner, which produces an 
elegance of form and finish, while it permits the greatest expe- 

In accordance with this plan, the Spencerian Copy Books are 
divided into four distinct series ; namely : the Exercise, the Com- 
mon School, the Business, and the Ladies' Series. 

These are accompanied by a set of beautifully lithographed 
charts, six in number. 

The Exereise Series, in connection with the Exercise Chart is 
designed to be used in the important work of securing proper 

The Common School Series presents writing in a purely sys- 
tematic form ; the copies being prepared with great 'accuracy and 
consistency, and corresponding "exactly with the letters found 
upon Charts 1, 2, 3, 4. 

These books and charts are designed for full and explicit 
teaching, enabling the learner to acquire that conception and exe- 
cution of form which constitute the basis of all good writing. 

The Business and Ladies' Series contain copies which are 
engraved fac-simUes from free handwriting, the hfe, spirit, and 
variety of which conduct the learners into a wider field of form, 
where they may find scope for individual tastes and pref- 

Many persons, having a knowledge of the rules given to guide 
the learner in commencing to write, are apt, upon examining a 
beautiful piece of business writing, to pronounce it meritorious 
in the proportion in which it conforms to such rules ; while, in 
fact, many of the most attractive features in the work may con- 
sist in wide variations from such a standard. 

"When writing is pleasing to the eye of cultivated taste, no 
other standard need be consulted. 

It will be observed that among the best business writers, there 
is a manifest preference for the most simple forms of capitals; 
and that they usually commence the initial curves of words well 
below the ruled line, and extend terminating curves above the 
hight of short letters, this being more in accordance with the 
natural motions of the hand. It will also be noticed that a's, 
p's, and other small letters are frequently modified, d's are looped, 


and i/s and g''s at the end of words are terminated without loops 
by a simple downward line, or an easy curve leftward. 

These are not faults, but features which adapt writing more 
fully to business use. Swiftly must the pen glide in these days 
of steam and electricity; for, however rapidly the agents of 
. modern progress move, the pen must ever pave the way. 

Busy Pen, proud Commeroe flings 
Her wealth abroad on countless wings, 
And Science opes her thousand springs, 
Guided by work of thine. — P. R. S. 



Distance may spread between us, friendj 

But our hearts unchanged will be; 
And our tongues will be the faithful pen, 

Heard even beyond the sea.^p. B. s. 

A FINE perception of beauty, grace, and harmony, not only 
gives to the feminine mind an intense appreciation of the softly 
tinted landscape, the glowing imagery of the poet, and the thrill- 
ing sounds of music, but also renders her capable of achievii^- 
excellence in any department of the fine arts. 

The rich additions made to literature, to galleries of paintingSj- 
and even to statuary, by cultivated women, prove,- not so much 
that some are peculiarly gifted, as that proper culture has devel- 
oped in these, powers too often permitted to lie dormant in the 

The useful and beautiful art of penmanship presents a wide 
field for the exercise of woman's refined taste and skill, and 
merits far more attention than it is wont to receive. There is 
no other accomplishment more frequently called into requisition, 
or capable of contributing in greater measure to the sum of 
human happiness than writing, and it would seem that the man- 
ner in which it is performed should be a subject worthy of seri- 
ous consideration ; yet, there are thousands of fair ones who 
indite precious missives without number, in a hand scarcely 
legible, even to the writers. If it were possible we would give 
a faint idea of the impression produced upon a truly refined 
mind by the crude appearance of some letters written by ladies 
of high intellectual acquirements and noble qualities of heart. 


ladies' HAND. 95 

" Blessed be letters !" forever, and blessed be the dear hands 
that pen them, but, in the name of grace, of beauty, in the 
sacred name of friendship, and of all that the writers love, we 
would entreat that their letters may be better written. It is not 
only the ungraceful and illegible scrawl that we deprecate, but 
the great tendency on the part of young ladies to produce micro- 
scopic, infinitesimal forms, which appear as if especially designed 
not to be read, and which must forever remain, wholly or in part, 
a mystery to their recipients. There is, however, a gradual 
change taking place in this respect which must be regarded as a 
decided improvement. 

The essential qualities in Ladies' Hand are legibility, neatness, 
grace, and beauty. 

In presenting a style for their use, we commend, first, a 
thorough practice upon the medium hand described upon the 
preceding pages, since this will give a fi'ecedom of motion which 
wiU render comparatively easy the production of more delicate 
forms. Many ladies, from choice, cultivate a business style of 
writing ; others find it convenient, and it may be, necessary, to do 
so. There can be no objection to this, since it rather facilitates 
than hinders the acquirement of a lighter style. The Ladies' 
Hand here presented is a modification of the medium liand, 
explained in the chapter on Forms of Letters, which is the basis 
of all other styles. 

It will be seen, by comparing the scales representing the pro- 
portionate hights of letters in the two styles, that while the i 
in the medium hand is one-ninth of an inch in hight, and the 
scale is composed of five equal spaces, in the Ladies' Hand the i 
is only one-fifteenth of an inch in hight, and the scale is com- 
posed of seven spaces. 

In diminishing the hight of small letters, they are made nar- 
rower in proportion. 

The capitals and loop letters extend four spaces above the 
ruled line, and the inverted loop letters three spaces below. 
The t and d extend two and one-half spaces above the ruled line, 
the^ and q two and one-half spaces below. 

While in Ladies' Hand the same style is used in regard to form 
and shading of capitals as in medium hand, they may also draw 


from the great variety of letters represented in the system. 
They will find forms with shades upon the inner curves of the 
ovals especially adapted to their use, since these give a lighter 
appearance to the letters. (See Plates in chapter on Variety of 

The following plate represents the scale employed in Ladies' 
Hand, and the proportionate hight and width of letters. 

Sprj/r^rimi £adi<^'Mand, 

; ^jy^^,^z7'^ 





y-- --/Ss^^ 



,-^^ / 





v^:- /,'■//. /'<v''./ /;,, /</_/'//,> 

/' 'L- - -/■-/,</./.■ -if. /-^-^w-J- ^■■,'/f ? 



^'f ,'Zit-i^/ l/'?' /^L-. 



"Were all tlie fleecy, golden, shifting clouds taken from the 
vaiilt of heaven, leaving only one unchanging blue, were all the 
roses, lilies, and violets taken from the gardens, leaving only their 
carpet of green, we should weary of gazing upon earth and sky. 
The tastes of even a single individual may vary at different 
periods of life, or under various circumstances, while different 
minds require an almost infinite variety from which to choose 
what is most pleasing. The constant succession of new ideas 
and developments in science, and the ever-changing forms in art, 
render their study irresistibly fascinating to their devotees, and 
attractive even to those who only stand in the vestibule, and but 
half comprehend their meaning. 

In presenting definite rules for the proper formation of letters, 
it is not designed to confine the skill and ingenuity of the vmter 
within narrow limits, nor to prevent the exercise of peculiar tastes. 
We desire, rather, to encourage individuality of style, so far 
as it may be consistent with propriety, and will, in this chapter, 
make some suggestions in regard to the changes of which dif- 
ferent letters are susceptible, while their proper form is carefully 

The originator of this system, possessing a love for the beauti- 
ftd, and a power of invention rarely equaled, was enabled to 
construct upon the basis of the principles he established, a 
greater variety of graceful and beautiful forms than would have 
been possible for a mind less exquisitely organized to design, or a 
hand less accurately trained to execute. The genius which would 
have made him a master in any department of art, was directed 

to penmanship. 



While he found pleasure in giving additional graces to the 
forms of letters, he carefully avoided rendering them obscure, or 
destroying their essential features by the indulgence of ornament 
or variety. 

At the close of this chapter we present a suflScient number of 
variations to indicate what is possible in that direction, leaving a 
wide margin for the exercise of individual judgment and taste. 

A few words in regard to the derivation of script letters may 
be useful here. 

The first form of letters we will consider is the Eoman print, 
which consists mainly of straight lines and circles ; thus — H, 0, 
n, u. The Italian follows this, substituting slanting letters for 
the pei-pendicular, ovals for circles, and employing a slight curve 
in place of the short horizontal lines in beginning and ending 
many of the small letters ; thus — H, 0, n, u. 

The transition from Italic small letters to script is easy and 
natural, some slight modifications in form and connecting curves, 
being all that is required to adapt their construction and combi- 
nation to the easy and continuous motion of the pen. 

The connecting curves, in uniting with the straight lines of the 
extended letters, form loops. The constant tendency in that 
direction, in forming the shorter letters, d and t, shows how natu- 
rally this occurs. 

In script capitals, curves and ovals are substituted for the 
straight lines of the Italian form, and other changes occur, pro- 
duced by the natural movements of the hand. (See Engravings.) 

In type the proportions and styles of letters are varied to suit 
the wants of the compositor. So in script, variations from the 
medium hand are made to suit the taste and purposes of the 
writer. By elevating the connecting cui'ves, and lengthening the 
main lines in the small letters, a bold, business style is produced, 
adapted to ledger headings, and all work where perspicuity is 
especially required ; while by lowering the connecting curves, 
and shortening the main lines, a beautiful running hand is pro- 
duced, which, on account of its neat general appearance, and 
facility of execution, is particularly adapted to correspond- 

By diminishing or increasing the length of the connecting 


curves, thus changing the spaces between letters and their parts, 
any style of writing is made open or compact as occasion may 
require. Small letters constitute the body of all writing. The 
style of capitals employed may be left to the choice of the writer. 

Capital letters, especially, present great latitude for the indul- 
gence of variety, which is produced by changing the proportions, 
terminations, combinations, and shadings of the principles em- 
ployed in their formation, care being taken to maintain the char- 
acteristics of the printed letters, whatever changes may occur. 

In the engravings which follow, .the Italian letter is first rep- 
resented, then the simplest form of script, which closely resem- 
bles it, and afterward various styles representing additional fea- 
tures, which may have been required by convenience, or sug- 
gested by good taste. "We will now proceed to show the analogy 
between the Italian capitals and the first script letter of each 
group, leaving it for the reader to trace the resemblance through 
the other styles presented. 

The essential features of the capital A are two oblique lines, 
meeting at the top, and diverging toward the base, with a hori- 
zontal Hue connecting them. These lines, which are straight in 
the Italian form, are changed to curves in script, but maintain 
the same general direction and relation to each other. 

The essential features of the Italian capital B, are a straight 
line on the left, and two sections of ovals on the right. In script, 
curves are substituted for the straight line, and the two sections 
of ovals are united by a small loop. 

The essential feature of the Italian capital C, is an oval with 
the middle of its right section omitted. In script the oval form 
is retained, and the short straight line in beginning, is changed 
to a curve. 

The essential features of the ItaHan capital D, are a straight 
line on the left, and a section of an oval upon the right. In the 
script letter, the straight line is changed to a compound curve, 
which is united by a small loop to a completed oval. 

In the script capital ^, two ovals take the place of the main 
horizontal and slanting straight lines, and a small loop is substi- 
tuted for the short lines at the middle hight of the letter. 

In the script capital F, compound curves take the place of the 


cap and the slanting straight lines of the Italian form, and the 
termination is retained. 

In the script capital <?, the oval is retained, constituting the 
upper portion of the letter. The analogy is not so apparent in 
this letter as in the other capitals, since the oval commences with 
a loop, and is followed by a short capital stem, both of whicli are 
prominent in the script letter. 

The essential featm'es of the Italian capital H, are two slant- 
ing straight lines, connected at their naiddle hight by a horizon- 
tal line. These lines are all changed to curves in script, having 
the same general direction. 

The essential feature of the Italian capital /, is a single slant- 
ing straight line. This, in the script letter, is changed to a curve, 
and for convenience in beginning, two smaller curves are made, 
forming a loop, through which the stem passes. 

The essential feature of the Italian capital «/, is a slanting 
straight line, terminating in a curve at its base. In script form, 
the straight line is changed to a curve, beginning like the /, and 
to distinguish it from this letter, a loop is formed below the ruled 

The essential features of the Italian capital K, are a slanting 
straight line on the left, ^nd two oblique lines on the right, the 
upper slanting toward the left, and the lower toward the right. 
In the script letter, the first straight line is changed to a curve, 
and the two oblique lines to compound curves. 

In the script capital Z, the slanting straight line and horizon- 
tal line, of the Italian form are changed to compound curves. 

The prominent features in the Italian capital JT, are two main 
slanting straight lines, connected by two oblique Knes meeting in 
a point at their base. In the script letter, these lines are aU 
changed to curves, having the same general direction. 

In the Italian capital iV, the two main slanting straight lines are 
united by one connecting line, extending from the top of the first 
to the base of the second straight line. In the script form, these 
three lines are changed to curves. 

In changing the Italian capital to script form, the oval is 
but slightly modified. 

The essential features of the Italian capital P, are a slanting 


straight line on the left, and a section of an oval, one half the 
length of the letter, on the right. In the script letter, curves are 
Buhstituted for the straight line, and the section of an oval on 
the right is preserved. 

In the script capital Q the oval of the Italian form, and com- 
pound curve at the base are retained. 

The essential features of the Italian capital JR, consist in a 
slanting straight line on the left, and a section of an oval and a 
compound curve on the right. In the script form, curves are 
substituted for the straight line, and the oval and compound 
curve on the right are retained. 

The characteristic feature of the Italian capital S, is a full 
compound curve, which is retained in the script form. 

In the script capital T, compound curves are substituted for 
the horizontal cap, and slanting straight line of the Italian foim. 

In the Italian capital U, two straight lines are united by a 
turn at the base. In the script letter, the straight lines are 
retained, the connecting curve uniting with the second straight 
Hne'near its top. 

The essential features of the Italian capital V, are two oblique 
lines, meeting in a point at the base. In the script letter, the 
straight line on the left is retained, a curve is substituted for the 
straight line on the right, and a turn at the base, for the point. 

The essential features of the Italian capital W, are four oblique 
lines, meeting in two points at the base, the letter resembling two 
Vs. In the script letter, curves are substituted for the straight 

The prominent features of the Italian capital X, are two 
oblique lines crossing each other. In the script form, curves are 
substituted for these lines, and, meeting at half their hight, pre- 
serve the appearance of crossing. 

The essential features of the Italian capital Y, are two oblique 
lines meeting in a point, and joining a single slanting straight 
line, which extends to the base. In the script letter, the first 
straight line is preserved, curves are substituted for the second 
and third straight lines, and the first two lines are united by a 
turn, while the third joins angularly with the second at the tpp, 
instead of at the middle hight of the letter. 


In the Bcript capital Z, compound curves are substituted for 
the two horizontal and the oblique lines of the Italian form. 
The script capital Z in common use, is derived from the German. 

The styles of letters presented in the engravings are regularly 
derived from varied forms of the capital principles. 

In the capital (?, or First Capital Principle, and in all the letters 
in which it appears, the following changes may occur : The first 
curve may be shaded ; the third curve may be continued below 
the ruled line, and, uniting with a fourth curve, reeross it; 
the fourth curve may turn to the left, cross the second, and ter- 
minate within the oval ; the third curve may be shaded ; the pro- 
portions of the oval may be changed. 

In the contracted capital 0, or Sixth Principle, and in all the 
letters in which it appears, the same changes may occur, as in 
the fifth principle. 

In the Capital Loop, and in all the letters in which it appears, 
the relative proportions of the parts may be changed ; the curves 
may be increased or diminished in fullness; an oval may be 
added to its lower portion ; one or two curves- may be formed 
within the oval. 

In the Capital Stem, and in aU the letters in which it appears, 
the stem may terminate in a dot near the ruled line ; or in an 
oval one-sixth, one-third, one-half, or two-thirds the hight of the 
principle ; one, two, or three curves may be formed within the 
oval ; shade may be omitted, or placed either upon the stem, or 
one of the downward curves of the oval. 

Let the teacher apply all these changes to a single letter, and 
present the varied forms to the class, requesting each one to select 
from the number that which seems most beautiful, and adopt it 
for his own. All will find something to admire, and will feel an 
increased ambition to attain perfection in writing 

Varied forms of noble ease, 
With slope harmonious ; and the whole 
Shall honor the proud art by which 
Mind speaks to mind, and heart to heart. 








If evidence were wanting tliat the blackboard and the crayon 
are invaluable aids in teaching penmanship, we might well refer 
to the eminent success attending their use by professional Spen- 
cerian teachers, who have been the leaders in this method of 
instruction. Through these agencies they have been able to 
illustrate the system in a manner so clear, forcible, and pleas- 
ing, that its merits could not fail to receive immediate recog- 
nition and appreciation. The enthusiasm upon the subject of 
writing which may be awakened by a judicious and skillful use 
of the black-board, is inconceivable to those who have not wit- 
nessed the experiment. Using it in connection with the Charts, 
an amount of valuable information can be communicated which 
could be given in no other way. While the Charts represent the 
standard of forms, their construction in detail may be fully 
shown upon the board, together with variations in styles, the 
results of violating certain rules, producing imperfect letters, 
the best means of correction, and exercises for general practice. 

No teacher can be regarded as qualified to conduct a class exer- 
cise in writing, who is not prepared to make apt illustrations of 
any subject under consideration upon the blaflk-board. A high 
degree of proficiency in this kind of writing may easily be 
attained in a short space of time, since it does not involve many 
of the difficulties attending the use of pen, ink, and paper. 
Many instances may be given of persons having learned to 
write neatly and systematically upon the black-board in a few 

The following directions for position and manner of using the 
crayon should be strictly observed : 



In order to secnre the proper slant of letters, and to write them 
in line from left to right, the writer should stand as near the 
board as convenient, the left side turned toward it, the right foot 
slightly in advance of the left. 

The crayon should be held between the end of the thumb, and 
the balls of the first and second fingers, passing obliquely under 
the palm of the hand. 

!No part of the hand or arm should touch the board. The 
writing is executed by the movement of the whole arm, the 
elbow being the center of motion. When the position is first 
taken, the muscles should be relaxed, and in writing they should 
be allowed to acquire only sufficient tension to give steadiness to 
the movements. 

The joints of the elbow and wrist should move easily and 

In order to produce fine, smooth lines, only the outer edge of 
the end of the crayon should touch the board, and it may be 
turned as it wears away. 

The crayons used should be of medium softness and free fi-om 

In the beginning, we recommend that ruled lines should be 
drawn, either by a rapid motion of the hand toward the right, or 
guided by an even edge. 

But one exercise should be undertaken at a time, and that prac- 
ticed thoroughly. 

Advanced classes in common schools, and all classes in normal 
schools, or in institutions where teachers are being educated, 
should be carefully trained in black-board writing. The advan- 
tages to be gained are two-foldj a thorough knowledge of the 
forms and proporlions of letters, and facility in executing and 
teaching them. 

"We will here make some suggestions in regard to the manner 
of conducting a class exercise. The first requisite is sufficient 
black-board space to accommodate aU the pupils ; or, if the class 
is large, one-half the number may write upon paper or slates at 
their seats, while the others write at the board, changing places 
with them at the expiration of one-half the time allotted for the 
lesson. Those writing at the desks should use the same copy 


wMeli is being written by the other members of the class. The 
boards should be divided into equal spaces, by vertical chalk 
lines, extending from the top to the base, each space being from 
three to four feet in width. These spaces should be numbered, 
and one assigned to each pupil. 

The board used by the teacher should be located so that it 
may be distinctly seen by the entire class. The Charts should be 
hung near him, in a conspicuous place. Thus prepared the les- 
son may begin. 

The class should first be instructed in regard to the position at 
the board, manner of holding the chalk, and using the arm. 

The production of a straight line on an angle of fifty-two 
degrees may then be attempted, directions being given to make 
it four inches in length, with a downward movement. At the 
word " Ready" all should take the position, and place crayon 
upon the board at the proper point ; and at the word " Write^'' 
slowly draw a single straight line as nearly according to instruc- 
tions as untrained eyes and hands will permit. 

The attention of the class may then be directed to the work 
of each pupil in turn, allowing them to criticise in regard to 
slant and length, and decide upon those which are correct or 
nearly so, thus estabhshing a standard. 

They may then proceed to practice upon the lesson, the teacher 
counting slowly one for each stroke. Attention may now be 
given to making the lines equally distant from each other, and 
arranging them in groups. It will be found convenient to leave 
two inches space between lines, and four inches between groups. 
Criticisms may again be made until a proper standard is obtained, 
when the work may be resumed. 

The entire movements of the class must be under the control 
of the teacher. At the words " Ready, ^^ and " Write" all should 
promptly obey, and at the word " Erase" they should cease writ- 
ing and erase their work, taking care to prevent any unneces- 
sary scattering of dust from the chalk. 

It is highly essential to the health and comfort of the pupils, 
that the room should be well ventilated during this exercise. 

The teacher should not only give full class instruction, but 
should visit each pupil, and give all the individual aid required. 



The ceaseless motion of little hands may sometimes cause 
araioyance, and an impatient frown may gather on the hrow, 
and an ungentle word may escape the Ups, of parent or teacher, 
because they will not remain quietly folded for a single moment. 
It should be remembered that every nerve and muscle in those 
busy hands is quivering with life ; they are not motionless even 
in sleep, and can not remain quiet during waking hours, save by 
the exercise of a self-control little comprehended by those who 
require it. They demand imperatively something to do, and 
unless this want is properly supplied, are in danger of doing 
what is wrong, not from choice, but because they have not been 
taught a more excellent way. 

In all properly conducted primary schools, it is expected that 
each child wiU. be supplied with a slate and pencil, so that leisure 
time maybe occupied, in writing or drawing. Too frequently, 
however, no specific direction is given to these efforts, and the 
httle ones are left to " make pictures," following only the sug- 
gestions of their own wayward fancies. They naturally love 
to imitate or reproduce the forms they have seen, and thus to 
cultivate a more intimate acquaintance with them. This tend- 
ency renders it comparatively easy to train them to useful employ.- 
ment, and assists the teacher materially in opening the way to 
mental efforts. A letter may be presented to a child daily with- 
out leaving a distinct impress upon his -mind, but having once 
formed it, he feels that it is in a manner his own. He made it, 
is therefore familiar \(dth every part of it, and' its form is indel- 
ibly imprinted upon his memory. 

The susceptibility of children to impressions, and the vividness 



and permanency of these impressions are universally recognized, 
but too little thought is given to their character, or the manner 
in which they are formed. 

If the image stamped \ipon their minds is to be ineffaceable, 
how very important it becomes that this image should be perfect 
in all its parts ! Who does not remember the imperfect form of 
some letter presented to him for imitation in his early childhood, 
and the difficulty with which he subsequently learned its proper 

Careful training in the formation of letters at this early age 
not only furnishes employment for the hands, and eyes, but it 
renders the child so thoroughly familiar with the proper forms 
of letters, that when regular instruction in penmanship is given, 
he will only need to be taught the use of the pen. It need 
scarcely be said that scholars trained in this way almost invariably 
become excellent writers. 

The practice of printing letters is almost universal in primary 
schools, and is, in some cases, continued in higher departments 
long after the art of writing should have been acquired. 

It is doubtless an aid to the pupQ in becoming acquainted with 
the forms of Roman letters, but once thoroughly learned, its end 
is accomplished, and written forms should then be presented for 
imitation, and substituted for print in all exercises where they 
can with propriety be used. 

While the leisure time of young scholars may be profitably 
employed in learning to write, the importance of the subject 
demands that there should also be an allotted time for regular 
instruction. The kind and quality of the materials to be used is 
also a matter of moment. 

Slates should be ruled upon one side with fine lines made by 
a sharp instrument. Double lines will be found convenient in 
regulating the bight of short letters. 

The pencils should be of sufficient length to be held like pens, 
and the manner of using them should be carefully taught. On 
account of the liability of the pencils in common use to break, 
it is a matter of economy and convenience to use those covered 
with reed or wood. They are both cheap and durable. 

The copy, as before intimated, should be as nearly perfect as 


possible. The Spencerian Charts furnish models for letters, and 
it would be well for the teacher to become thoroughly acquainted 
with their forms and proportions, so that it will be easy to pre- 
pare upon the board future exercises in combinations of letters. 

As soon as the children have learned to form letters, they 
should be taught to combine them, not merely for the sake of 
combination, in meaningless associations, but in words represent- 
ing ideas, the names of familiar objects or of those they love. 
They will naturally feel the importance of what they are doing, 
and the impression should be strengthened. They have now a 
key to all the treasures of science and art, and are really intro- 
duced into the world of letters. Short sentences should follow, 
and here the field is wide, for although they can not be expected, 
at this age, to have their thoughts well defined, or to be able to 
express them all in words, yet, so far as possible, they should be 
encouraged to do so. 

Each slate should be carefully examined by the teacher, and 
commendation bestowed, or corrections made, as occasion may 
require. It must be remembered that much of the pleasure 
experienced by the child in writing consists in having his work 
properly appreciated. 


Primary schools are usually supplied with black-boards, but 
they are frequently quite too limited both in number and extent. 

The entire portion of the walls within the reach of children 
may well be prepared for this purpose. The children should be 
carefully instructed in regard to the manner of holding and using 
the chalk. The practice of giving it to them simply for amuse- 
ment, we can not commend. While they are interested in what 
they do, it should at the same time, be something worth the 
doing. The privilege of writing upon the board may be consid- 
ered a reward for having written well upon their slates, and 
those wTio succeed best at the board may have their work 
retained. They should early learn to set a value upon the neat- 
ness and graceful appearance of all the forms they write. 

Figures being of equal importance with letters, should also be 


introduced into tliis exercise, and special attention given to their 
construction. If children generally were carefully instructed in 
regard to the form, position, and arrangement of figures, we 
should be spared the sight of the many rude hieroglyphics so 
often used to represent numbers. 


The practice of writing through the first books of the series 
with a lead pencil in primary schools has been found of great 
utility. A reasonable objection is made to the use of pen and 
ink by small children, as they are likely to blot and deface their 
books, and injure clothing and furniture, but this objection can 
not be urged against the pencil, and with it they may more easily 
learn the forms of the letters, while neatness and order may be 
preserved. Each scholar should be provided with an excellent 
pencil of suitable length, and these, for convenience, should be 
carefully sharpened previous to the exercise, and the pupils should 
be cautioned against moistening them, as this injures the point, 
and spoils the appearance of the writing. 

"Whatever method is pursued, the teacher should engage in the 
work earnestly, with genuine love for the children, and a deter- 
mination to permit no personal considerations of time or trouble 
to stand in the way of their interests. 

The pupils themselves, even the youngest, will naturally love 
the work, and will ever hold in grateful remembrance the faith- 
ful friend who first taught them this beautiful art. 

It is interesting to observe the pleasure with which their first 
attempt at correspondence is made, and their natural pride in 
such an effort shoiild be encouraged, for it has its foundation in 
feelings of good will, kindness and love. 

The following words by one who loved every little child, express 
what many little writers, and recipients of letters, will feel when 
they have been taught to write them gracefully and well. 

There is beauty in that letter 

■Which my sister wrote to me : 
No hand can trace one better — 

More easy, plain, and free. 


With rose-leaf curves — her capitals 

Are shaped of graceful lines ; 
And every speaking image blent • 

With undulating vines. 

The harmony of curve and slope. 

Is graced by tasteful shade ; 
Her heart seems in the picture-work 

Her gentle hand has made. 
She used to say " Dear Brother I" 

With a rich, ingenuous air ; 
Now she writes the words so neatly, 

Her voice seems speaking there. — p. r, a. 



"We do not deem it needfal to enter tare npon any Bpecial 
laudation of the merits of Penmansliip as a branch of education. 
So essential a medium of thought cannot properly be out-ranked 
by any art or science taught in the school-room, and it is now 
recognized as an indispensable aid in the pursuit of many other 
branches. Yet, the negligent manner in which this invaluable 
art is frequently taught, even at the present day, calls for more 
than a passing notice. 

The time assigned for the lesson in penmanship is often when 
the pupils are weary, and anxious for the close of school, or, it 
may be that this exercise is provided for only once or twice a 
week, and, even then, upon some slight pretext, omitted alto- 

This want of attention is owing, in a measure, to the fact that 
duriag all the course of training through which the teacher has 
passed, in preparation for his work, this subject has been neg- 

It is a matter of gratulation, however, that in the best schools, 
writing now holds its proper rank, and receives its appropriate 
share of time and attention. Observation and experience have 
folly demonstrated that, with the same care and labor, the pupUs 
of any school will arrive at even a higher degree of excellence 
in this than in other educational branches. 

With the facilities now afforded, it has become the imperative 
duty of aU who intend to assume the responsibilities of teachers, 
to prepare themselves for giving instruction in penmanship. 

In this chapter we shall endeavor to explain some essential 
points to be observed in successful teaching, and to give some 



practical views in regard to the method of conducting this exer- 
cise, developed in the course of a long experience. 

That the teacher should himself be an accomplished penman, 
would seem, at first thought, indispensable to his success in giving 
instruction in the art, but this is not strictly true. Although it 
is highly desirable that he should be able to execute well with 
pen and ink, it is not absolutely necessary. Many teachers being 
unable to write even a legible hand, have produced extraordinary 
results in their classes in penmanship. Since the introduction 
of fac-simile copies, engraved from the finest productions of the 
pen, and such perfect charts as are now prepared for the nse of 
teachers and pupils, written copies, unless by a master, are 
unnecessary, and, in many cases, objectionable. 

The Spencerian Oopy-Books contain not only the copy which 
the learner is to study, but also instructions and explanations. 
Hence, they are as really text books as those which are so desig- 

The same order and prompt obedience on the part of the 
pupils must be required in this exercise as in others. The teacher 
should be familiar with the subject, thoroughly understanding 
all that pertains to a systematic structure and analysis of the let- 
ters, shading, spacing, slant, arrangement, etc., and should also 
be competent to point out errors, and give the rules for cor- 

At \Q&%t thirty minutes should be devoted each day to the 
writing exercise. Pupils of the same department should have 
the same number of the writing series, and all should write upon 
the same page, and use the same copy at the same time. 

Every pupil should be required to have a blotter, which should 
be shaped as represented in the diagram contained in the chap- 
ter on "Materials and Implements." Each one should also 
have a pen-wiper, and extra book or waste paper. The extra 
book may be either a duplicate or blank book, but the duplicate 
is preferable, since the ruling in it is correct, and the paper is of 
superior quality. This extra book, or waste paper, is designed to 
be used for training the hand in free movements ; also for prac- 
ticing upon the copy, preparatory to writing it in the regular 


When pupils have been absent, they may omit the page or 
pages written by the class in the mean time, and, if they find no 
opportunity to write what has been thus omitted, the leaves can 
be used to accompany the next book, so that no page need be 
wasted or lost. 

Before commencing to write, the class should critically exam- 
ine the copy and read the printed instructions in concert, or 
otherwise, as the teacher may direct. AU copies embracing 
merely principles, or simple combinations, should be traced with 
a dry fen before writing them in ink. The teacher may count, 
or require the class to count audibly, as is explained in the copy- 
books ; the pupils moving their pens in concert, keeping perfect 
time with the counting. Explanations, accompanied by illustra- 
tions on the blackboard, or by reference to the Chart, should be 
made often, but briefly as possible, and to the point. 

The position of the body, and the manner of holding the pen, 
ought also to be explained and illustrated by the teacher, and 
urged upon the scholar until correct habits are fixed. 

Beginners are usually inclined to write too rapidly, and require 
to be frequently checked, and reminded that nothing is gained by 
haste, since one copy must be thoroughly understood and care- 
fully executed before another is attempted. Pupils should not 
leave the primary books until every principle is mastered ; and 
it is well for those in the advanced classes to review them at the 
beginning of each school term, or at least once a year. 

As the time allotted to the writing exercise is very short, it is 
important that every moment should be economized and improved. 
Much time is generally wasted in distributing books and pens, 
and if the pupils are allowed to retain these at their seats, the 
liability of loss or injury is so great, that many will be unpre- 
pared when the writing hour comes. 

It is impossible here to present a plan for the distribution of 
writing material and implements, which would accommodate 
itself to every school. In many places, pupils not only own 
their books, but their pens, and even their inkstands and ink. A 
better plan- is to supply the pupils with all the materials except 
the copy book, from a general fund for that purpose. This will 
allow their care and distribution to be reduced to a system. 



We present the following methods, which, in the best fur- 
nished schools, have been found to work with admirable success. 
When facilities for the application in detail of the methods here 
proposed are not afforded, the teacher may trust to his ingenuity 
to make such modifications of these plans as are necessary. The 
ends in view are order, harmony, and rapidity. Certain signals 
must be used in directing the preliminary and closing exercises. 
They may be made with the piano, or bell, by different positions 
of the fingers, or motions of the hand, or by counting. 

The most proficient scholars may be chosen as monitors, as a 
mark of honor. 

There should be two sets of monitors ; regular monitors for 
the distribution and collection of books and pens, and sub-mon- 
itors for depositing these articles on the front desks, and removing 
them to their proper places at the close of the exercise. 

In large rooms, with long rows of desks, there should be one 
monitor for books, and one for pens, for each row. In smaller 
rooms, one book and one pen monitor may supply two rows, dis- 
tributing right and left in passing down the aisles. 


Signal 1. Clear the desks. 

Signal 2. Glass in order. The scholars should take an erect 
position, with arms folded. 

Signal 3. Sub-Monitors. They rise, move forward to where 
the books and pens are deposited, and place them upon the front 
desk of each row. 

Signal 4. Monitors rise. 

"^'Signal 5. Forward. They move forward in line, take books 
and pens, and about face. 
' Signal 6. Beady. The teacher counts one, two, three, etc., 
the monitors placing books and pens at each desk in perfect time. 
The book mbnitor goes first, and is followed by the pen monitor. 
If there are not pupils at each desk, the vacant places must be 
filled with blank books or old ones, so that the monitors can 
deliver books at each desk, without looking at the owners' names. 

Signal 7. Monitors resume tJieir seats. 


Signal 1. Position. Class take position for writing. 
SiGiTAi, 2. Open hoohs. Here the copy should be examined, 
and explanations and instructions given. 
Signal 3. Ojpen ink. 
Signal 4. Take;pens. 
Signal 5. Write. 


Signal 1. Wipe pens. They then place them in the most 
convenient position for the monitors to collect 

Signal 2. Close inJc. 

Signal 3. Use blotter. 

Signal 4. Close and arrange toohs. 

Signal 5. Monitors rise. While the teacher counts they col- 
lect the books and pens in time. 

Signal 6. Monitors about face. 

Signal 7. Monitors retire. They go to their seats, while sub- 
monitors deposit books and pens in their proper places. 

Another method for the distribution and collection of books is 
as follows : 


Two monitors are appointed, one for distributing and collect- 
ing the books, and one for the pens. The same signals may be 
used in this method as in the preceding one. Let the first moni- 
tor proceed with the books to the first seat on the left hand degk, 
in the front of the school. room, and leave as many books as 
there are seats across the room, lengthwise of the desks, then. to 
the second desk, leaving the same number, and so on, until the 
whole number of books are placed on the left hand desks. The 
books must all be placed upon the desks with their backs next to 
the left hand of the pupil. At the first signal each-pupil in the 
row supplied with books takes all the books but the lower one 
in his left hand, and, inserting his right hand under them, passes 
them to the pupil seated next him on the left. At the second 
signal the second pupil proceeds in the same manner, and they 


continue thus until each desk is supplied. Should any scholar 
be ahsent, the one who receives the books last, moves to his seat 
and ofBciate^ in his place. 

The second monitor distributes the pens. Instead, however, 
of placing them upon the desks, the pupil in the first row takes 
a BufiBcient number in his right hand, receiving them with the 
points downward. At the first signal, he passes all but one to 
the pupil on his left, who receives them in his right hand, and 
at second signal passes them with his left, retaining one. ■ At 
the third signal, the third pupil proceeds in the same manner, 
and they proceed thus until all are distributed. Should it be 
found necessary to appoint a third monitor to take care of the 
pen-wipers, they are to be distributed in the same manner as 
the books. 

When the pupils are properly seated, and supplied with mate- 
rial and implements for writing, the teacher may give the follow- 
ing signals : . 

Signal 1. Position at desk. (Here instruction may be given 
as to the proper position. Consult Chapter III, of this Key.) 
The teacher may require the pupils to take the position decided 
upon in concert. A little practice will enable them to do this 
promptly and silently. 

Signal 2. Open inkstands. In double desks the pupils on the 
right will open and close them. 

Signal 3. Arrange the hooks. 

Signal 4. Hands am,d arms in proper position. 

Signal 5. Turn to the copy. They will use the right hand, 
find the page, open the book, then replace the hands in proper 
position. In finding the page, only the comers of the leaves 
should be raised, and -when found, the book should be opened 

Signal 6. Take pens. This includes correctly adjusting them 
previous to writing. At this point the teacher should pay par- 
ticular attention to giving instruction in pen-holding. 

Signal 7. Take ink. 

Signal 8. Ready. 

Signal 9. Write. 



The same signals may be used as in commencing. 

Signal 1. Position. 

Signal 2. Wipe pens. 

Signal 3. Pass pens. They should be collected in the reverse 
order of their distribution. 

Signal 4. Close inkstands. 

Signal 5. Close hooks. 

Signal 6. Pass books. Books are to be collected in the reverse 
order of their distribution. When gathered, they will be placed 
as they were when first distributed. The monitors will then pro- 
ceed to gather up the books. Beginning at the desk in the rear 
of the school room, collect the books from the desks where they 
are placed, being careful to place each pile across the one helow. 
This will render them easy of distribution in future, and prevent 
the necessity of placing anything between them for the purpose 
of separation. 

As before intimated, these methods cannot be applied in aU 
schools, for pens and ink are not always furnished. 

"When each scholar owns his pen, for convenience in distribur 
tion, a block may be prepared, having in it a number of holes, 
in which the pens may be placed. By the side of each hole a 
letter or number may be written, which will serve to designate 
the owner's pen. When the desks are not furnished with ink- 
stands, and each pupil is obliged to purchase his own, then a tray 
should be provided in which they may be placed when not in use. 

There should also be a box provided for depositing the pen- 
wipers. When these are distributed and collected, additional 
monitors will have to be appointed for the purpose. 

The idea in presenting these plans, is to suggest means by' 
which much time may be saved. The space which this descrip^, 
tion covers may seem to indicate that this work of preparation 
is a lengthy one ; but actual experiment proves that by follow- 
ing either of these plans, a large school may be in readiness 
for the writing exercise in from two to four minutes, since, in 
this case, rapidity of motion is faUy consistent with order and 



There are certain lessons which must be thoroughly learned 
before the pupil can hope to attain any very great degree of ex- 
cellence in writing. Prominent among these are position, man- 
ner of holaing the pen, and movements. 

The teacher may use his judgment in determining which of 
the four positions described in Chapter III, shall be adopted. It 
is highly conducive to order that every pupil in the class should 
take the same position. This should be practiced in concert, 
until every pupil is able to go through the exercise at the same 

In teaching pen-holding and movements, every pupil should 
be provided with waste paper, or a suitable book in which to 
practice such exercises as are represented in this Key, or upon 
the Exercise Chart ; or, if preferred, the teacher may draw upon 
the black-board such examples as he may deem appropriate to 
this work. 

"While practicing these exercises, very little attention need be 
given to form, position and movement being the special objects. 

We wiU now describe a systematic method of giving regular 
lessons in penmanship, when the preparatory and closing exer- 
cises are thoroughly understood. 


After the distribution of the writing materials, which, for this 
exercise, should certainly include either a blank book, duplicate 
book, or sheet of paper, the teacher calls the class to an attentive 

The subject of penmanship shoiild not be introduced until 
every eye is fixed upon the teacher, or some object indicated by 

He then proceeds to illustrate what is meant by a straight line, 
which may be done in the following manner : — He first draws 
upon the board a perpendicular straight line, giving its name. 


He then draws a slanting straight line, asking the pupils if 
that is also a straight line. 

Finding a difference, of opinion upon this point, he calls for a 
decided expression by vote, then asks — " What is a straight line ?" 

Various answers may be given, and if none are correct, the 
following definition may be adopted : 

We have found it better adapted to the comprehension of 
pupils in general, than the geometrical definition usually em- 

" A straight line is one which does not bend in any of its 
parts." An illustration of one which does -bend should be 

He then refers them to the slanting straight line, asking again 
if it is a straight line. Their answers wiU now be uniformly in 
the affirmative. He asks " Why it is a straight Hue ?" Ans. 
" Because it does not bend in any of its parts." He then draws 

slanting straight lines in groups of four, {////////) stating that 

these are designed to fill the spaces between two ruled lines, and 
requiring the pupils to imitate them. What is to be done should 
be so clearly stated, that there can be no danger of misapprehen- 
sion. A single explanation is rarely sufficient to impress per- 
manently the mind of any pupil. 

At this point the ink stands should be opened, and the various 
signals prescribed on pages 115 and 117 should be given in their 

The class will then proceed to make what may be called a trial 
effort upon the copy, writing a certain number of groups dictated 
by the instructor. In order to secure uniformity of motion, he 
may, for a time, count slowly, one for each line. (See Chapter 
on Coimting.) In the mean time he should examine carefully 
the work of the pupils, observing the most prominent fault, 
which, in this instance may be spacing. 

It should be clearly understood that at any moment their 
attention may be called, all should cease writing at once, and fix 
their eyes upon the teacher. Any method of calling their atten- 
tion may be adopted, but by all means let it be uniform, so that 
it may be instantly recognized. 


If inequality in spacing should be the error under considera- 
tion, equal and uneqiial spacing should now be represented upon 
the board, and the following rule given : 

"The lines in a group should be equally distant, and the 
groups should be twice as far apart as the lines in the groups." 

Having shown them this special fault, that they may write 
with the single object in view of correcting it, it would be well 
to say — " Now endeavor to make these spaces equal. Write." 

The examination of their work should continue, ample time 
being given to correct the previous faults, a word of caution to 
one, and of encouragement to another, being administered as the 
case may require. 

It is suggested that the teacher confine himself to observing 
the work of the pupils, commenting upon it, and directing the 
attention of the class to the work upon the board or chart, avoid- 
ing the common practice of sitting down beside the pupil to ren- 
der assistance ; the objection to the latter being, that only a very 
few can be reached in this way, and these at the expense of the 
entire class, while all can be more efficiently instructed by the 
method here described. 

Another prominent fault to be observed in this exercise, will 
be diversity of slant, some sloping the lines too little, approach- 

iDg the perpendicular, Ex. ( //// //// ) ; others, too much, ap- 
proaching the horizontal [/^^yy^) ; and others, still, irreg- 
ularly in the same group U/\///y/ ) • 

This should now be clearly illustrated upon the board. (For 
diagram showing correct slant, see Chapter on Forms.) 

This error originates usually in the incorrect relative position 
of paper, arm and hand. The proper position, as described in 
Chapter III, should be insisted upon. 

In correcting the tendency to slant irregularly, it will be neces- 
sary to define parallel lines, which may be said to be " equally 
distant from each other throughout their entire length." Lines 
should then be made upon different slants, on different parts of 
the board, and the opinion of the class be required in regard to 
the relation which these lines bear to the proper slope (an angle 


of 62°). The eye should be trained to make these discrimina- 
tions at a glance, and any deviation from the correct slope should 
be detected instantly. The class should now be permitted to 
practice for a time with a special reference to the above error 
until regularity and the correct angle of the slope are secured. . 

There wiU be observed a constant inclination on the part of 
many pupils to bend over their writing, thus throwing an undue 
weight upon the arm, and impeding the action of the hand. 
The physical well-being of the pupil, as well as his progress in 
penmanship, will demand that this tendency be corrected at 
once, whenever and wherever it may be found. 

Another serious, and very common error, consists in heavy 
lines, the result of taking too much ink upon the pen, pressing 
too heavily upon the paper, or holding the pen too tightly in the 

Illustrations of heavy lines should be given upon the board, in 
imitation of those found in the books of the pupils. 

Light, smooth lines should also be drawn, as models for imi- 

The practice of writing heavy lines, though advocated by 
many antiquated wielders of the' pen, is a pernicious one, lead- 
ing to many evils, and the natural tendency of beginners in that 
direction, should be checked, rather than indulged. The pupil 
should be taught to hold the pen lightly and easily in the hand, 
and permit it to glide smoothly over the paper. 

As a closing exercise, they should now be requii-ed to write 
several groups, which shall be correct in all the points mentioned 
above ; viz.: spacing, slant, lightness, and regularity. 

It may appear to many that we are giving too much promi- 
nence to the proper formation of the simple straight line ; but it 
should be borne in mind that this is the \First Principle in writ- 
ing, and forms the body stroke, or line of slant, in twenty-three 
out of the twenty-six small letters of the alphabet. There ia 
little danger, therefore, that its importance will be over-esti- 

Interest and enthusiasm manifested by the teacher upon this 
subject, will stimulate the pupil, and lead to excellent results. 

Let each member of the class know, beyond a doubt, that his 


Mhd and faitliM instructor is especially interested in his work 
and progress, that no blot or error will be likely to escape notice, 
and that no special merit can fail of its just meed of commenda- 
tion. The teacher should in all respects so conduct this exercise 
as to communicate to the pupils a feeling of cheerful earnestness, 
an indispensable element of successful endeavor. 




The usual signals for opening the exercise should be distinctly 
given, and all noise and confusion in obeying them should be 
carefully avoided. So far from permitting a single departure 
from established rules, both teacher and pupils should, day by 
day, approach nearer to perfection in this routine of preparation. 
If perfect order, quiet, and precision are secured in these pre- 
liminary arrangements, there will be less danger of falling into 
negligence in the writing lesson which follows. 

Assuming that sufficient lime has been allowed for practice 
upon the straight line, as indicated in the preceding lesson, the 
class will now proceed to write this lesson in the copy book. ^ 

There will naturally be some timidity on the part of the pupH, 
lest the fair page before him be marred by an unseemly scrawl, 
where he meant to draw a line of perfect symmetry, and this 
apprehension will be almost certain to lead to the very result 
feared, unless he is permitted to practice at least enough in the 
exercise book, or upon a slip of paper, to gain confidence in his 
hand, and to test the quality of the pen. 

A representation of the ruled lines in the copy book, designed 
in the primary numbers to regulate the hight and grouping of 
lines and short letters, and the length of words, should be given 
upon the black-board, and the class thoroughly instructed in 
regard to their use. 

The directions in regard to writing the first line cannot be too 
carefully and explicitly given. The pupils should understand at 


precisely what point the pen is to be placed upon the paper, the 
direction in which the line is to be drawn, and where it should 

A single straight line may now be drawn in the copy book by 
each member of the class, and subjected to a careful examiaation. 

Having explained so clearly how the work should be done, 
the teacher may be surprised to find that a number of pupUs 
have failed to understand what is required. Correcting the errors 
found, he wiU request them to write a second line, examining 
and criticising as before. It will be well to continue this course, 
at least until the first group is completed, and the care shown in 
writing the remainder of the page, will prove that this time and 
attention have been well bestowed. 

In order to secure uniformity of motion, so that all the mem- 
bers of the class may write the same line at the same time, we 
recommend counting one for each line, or the same result may 
be secured by dictation. (See Chapter on Counting and Dic- 

In calling the attention of the class to errors, but one should 
be corrected at a time, and that should be done in language so 
concise and clear, that there will be no danger of misappre- 

The copy book is to be considered a record of the best work 
of the pupil, and it should be his special care to render it a 
model of neatness and order. As a means for preserving the 
books, we recommend that all be covered. The covers may be 
so made that each leaf, when written upon, may be placed 
beneath them, and thus be protected from injury. Pupils will 
be likely to take ink too often in writing, and thus increase the 
liability to blot their books. They should be required to write a 
certain number of words, and then take ink upon the point of 
the pen only, being careful not to drop it upon the paper. 


In order that pupils may fully understand a copy before at- 
tempting to write it, and thus be able to work intelligently, we 
suggest the following method of examination. 


We proceed upon the supposition that they are familiar with 
the first three principles, and able to give intelligent answers, not 
perhaps strictly accurate, in every instance, but subject to revis- 
ion and correction by the teacher. 

The answers here given will be found to embody the princi- 
ples contained in th*e chapter on Forms, which we again com- 
mend to the teacher's consideration. 


The teacher opens a copy book at the page containing the sub- 
ject of the lesson, or points to the letter upon Chart No. 1, and 
explains that the letter * is one space in hight, and is regarded 
as the standard by which the hight of other letters is measured. 
He then proceeds to ask questions upon the general form of the 
letter, thus : 

Q. Does the first curve of this letter join the slanting straight 
line with an angle,, or a turn ? 

A. With an angle. 

Q. Where do they join ? 

A. At the top. 

Q. What kind of a turn is formed at the base ? 

A. A short turn. 

Q. What is the rule for making this turn ? 

A. It should be made as short as is possible, without stopping 
the motion of the pen. 

Q. What relation does the second curved line bear to the first ? 

A. It is made upon the same slant, and similar to it. 

Q. What finishes the letter i ? 

A. The dot. 

Q. Where is the dot placed ? 

A. One space above the straight portion of the letter, and on 
a hne with it. 

Q. How should it be made ? 

A. By pressing gently upon the point of the pen as if to begin 
a downward line, and then removing it quickly. 

Q. Are there any heavy or shaded lines in this letter. 

A. There are none. 



Q. How many spaces in higlit is this letter ? 

A. Three spaces. 

Q. What proportion of the entire hight of the letter is the 
finishing part ? 

A. One-third. 

Q. What is the width of the letter ? 

A. One space. 

Q. What is the width of the loop ? 

A. One-half of a space. 

Q. What parts of this letter are on the regular slant of 52° ? 

A. The two slanting straight lines in the lower part of it. 

Q. In what other letters will you find the same finish as in this 

A. In the m and n. 

Q. At what point does this part of the letter joia the first 
part ? 

A. At the base. 

Q. ISTame in order the principles combined in the formation of 
this letter. 

A. Fourth, Third, First, Second. 

Q. To what class does this letter belong ? 

A. To the class of extended letters. 

As a further illustration of the foregoing method, we wiU pro- 
propose a few questions appropriate to the examination of the 
capital letters and A. 


Q. How many spaces does this letter occupy in hight ? 
A. Three; that is, it is three times the hight of the small 
letter i. 

Q. How does its width compare with its hight ? 
A. Its width, without shade, is one-half of its hight. 
Q., Is its width gre'ater or less with shade than without? 
A. Greater with shade. 


Q. In what direction does the pen move in commencing the 

A. Toward the left. 

Q. "What proportion of the entire width of the letter is the 
space between the two left curves ? 

A. One-fifth. 


Q. What form begins this letter ? 

A. The Capital Stem. 

Q. What kind of a line is on the right of the Capital Stem ? 

A. A sHght left curve. 

Q. Where does this curve connect with the stem ? 

A. At the top. 

Q. What is the distance between the first and second lines of 
this letter at the base ? 

A. One space and a half. 

Q. .What is the slant of the oval in this letter ? 

A 25°. 

Q. At what hight above the ruled line does the finish of the 
letter begin ? 

A. One space. 

Q. Where does it cross the left curve ? 

A. One-half space above its base. 

Q. Name the principles in the order in which they occur in 
this letter. 

A. Eighth, Third, Third, Second. 

Prom these examples we may deduce the points to be devel- 
oped in the consideration of all letters, viz.: full hight, relative 
hight of parts, full width, relative width of parts, relative slant 
of parts, parallel lines, and principles combined in formation. 


A thorough drill having been given upon the principles, and 
upon the letters i, u, w, and n, the teacher and pupUs may pro- 
ceed to a consideration of the copy on page 6 of Copy Book 
No. 1. 


Adopting either of the methods for opening the exercise 
abeady described, the teacher should place Chart No. 1 where 
the letters upon it may be plainly seen by the entire class. 

The copy books before the pupils should be open at the page 
containing the lesson, and they will observe that the letter on 
the Chart corresponds, in every particular, with the- letter as it 
appears in the copy book. Every eye being fixed upon the letter, 
on the Chart, the firfit question may be, 

Q. "What is the hight of the small letter m ? 

A. One space. 

Q. What is its width ? 

A. Two spaces. 

Q. How many curves in this letter ? 

A. Four. 

Q. How many straight lines ? 

A. Three. 

Q. How many turns? 

A. Four. 

Q. How many angular joinings ? 

A. Two. 

Q. What curve commences this letter? 

A. The left curve. 

Q. What line follows this curve ? 

A. The slanting straight line. 

Q. How are these two lines connected at their top ? 

A. By an upper turn. 

Q. What is the rule for making this turn ? 

A. It should be made as short as is possible, without stopping 
the motion of the pen. 

The teacher may state to the class that, in the formation of 
small letters, one turn is a model for all other turns, and that one 
angular joining is a model for all other angular joinings. 

The ruling in the copy book should be explained, and the 
pupil should be instructed to fill the space with the letter, touch- 
ing upper and lower lines. 

This explanation will be required in using aU the new copy 

The copy should be written in columns, instead of from left to 


right. In writing the letter the first time, it will be weU to 
name the Hnes, turns, and angular joinings, as they are written, 
thus : Ready : Left Curve, Upper Turn, Straight Line, Angular 
Joining, Left Curve, &c., through the first column. After writ- 
ing the first letter, they should pause and criticise their own 
work, in regard to curves, turns, straight lines, angles, spaces, 
slant, hight, and lightness of line. This will call their powers 
of discrimination into exercise, and render them quick to observe 
every fault. Having written an entire column, they should each be 
directed to make a slight pencil mark under the letter which the 
writer regards as the best. 

In subsequent columns, the class may count for each line, thus : 
Beady, one, two, three, four, five, six, one ; Repeat. (See Chap- 
ter on " Counting and Dictation.") 


In addition to the oral instructions given, and the corrections 
made during the writing exercise, it would be well for the teacher 
to examine daily the books used for common practice, and, with 
a fine pencil, indicate the faults found in the different letters, and 
their elements, requiring the pupils, during the following lesson, 
to practice with a special view to their correction. Errors may 
occur in length, width, inclination, straight line, right curve, left 
curve, upper turn, lower turn, joinings, shading, and distance, 
and any or all of the lines may be too heavy. 

It is not essential that the precise nature of the error should 
be specified, since the pupil should be taught to exercise his own 
judgment, so that simply calling his attention to the place where 
a fault has occurred, will at once suggest its nature, and the cor- 

Small initial capitals may be employed for this purpose, the 
Words which they represent being familiar terms. 

Length L 
"Width W 
Inclination I 

Left Curve 
Upper Turn 
Lower Turn 



Straight or main line M 
Heavy line H 
Eight Curve C- 






All the incentives used to awaken interest in other studies, 
may with equal propriety be employed in penmanship. 

The pleasure experienced in personal improvement is in itself 
a powerfal aid in this direction, but in order that the pupil may 
be made conscious of his daily progress, and thus be incited to 
renewed efibrt, a record should certainly be kept of his standing. 

A few moments' time before the close of the exercise, wiU suf- 
fice to record in each book the standing of the pupil for the day. 
A scale of ten may be adopted, or any other which may be pre- 

Red ink will be found convenient for this purpose, as It ren- 
ders the numbers clear, prominent, and ineffaceable. 

The teacher may prefer to keep a monthly record, based upon 
a careful examination of the books. Honors and rewards are fre- 
quently conferred upon pupils, to excite a commendable spirit 
of emulation, and to inspire them with a desire, not so much to 
excel others, as to surpass themselves. The faithful practice, and 
unremitting effort essential to progress in the art of penmanship, 
while bringing, in a measure, their own reward, still merit hon- 
orable notice from the teacher. 

We recommend that a merit roll, containing the names of the 
pupils in each class, who have attained the highest degree of 
excellence, be prepared, and suspended in the school-room. 

Though this, in some instances, may seem like rewarding indi- 
vidual talent, or native ability, yet, it will generally be found 
that those who expend the most care and labor will produce the 
best work. 

The merit roU may be made highly ornamental, if desired, and 
should be so arranged that the names may be inserted, removed, 
or exchanged, as occasion requires. 



HowEVEE pleasing, and even fascinating, a writing exercise 
may become when conducted by an accomplished teacher, who 
understands the art of awakening an interest in his pupils, there 
will, nevertheless, be many eyes disposed to wander, and many 
minds indulging in vague ideas, far removed from the subject 
under consideration. The introduction of counting and dicta- 
tion exercises will do much toward securing undivided attention. 
Concert of action produces a unity of feeling, and a community 
of interests among the pupils, which stimulates each one to strive, 
not only for himself, but because he is co-operating with many 
others in producing good work. 

Entire classes may soon be trained to work in concert, all the 
pupUs beginning to write at the same moment, and executing 
the same letter, and portion of a letter simultaneously. They 
wiU thus progress from letter to letter, and through words and 
combinations, with all the order, promptness and precision of mil- 
itary drill. 

There may be objections to any system of drill which would 
retard or increase the movements of a mature writer, yet chil- 
dren, or those first attempting the execution of systematic letters, 
being unable to approximate to a proper- speed and uniformity 
of pen-motion, require some external aid or guide, which will 
lead them to movements consistent with the proper formation of 

* We are originally indebted to the Germans for the idea of applying time to the 
movements of the pen. It has long been practiced in their schools; their national 
love of music, and acute perception of measured time, having probably suggested its 
application to penmanship. 



letters, and, at the same time, prove no obstacle in the way of 
their subsequent transition to the speed most easy and natural to 
each individual. 

Some pupils move too rapidly, producing letters irregular, and 
very imperfect in form ; others write with a slow, indolent mo- 
tion, making downward lines too heavy, turns too broad, and 
curves uneven. When all are required to write at a medium 
and uniform rate of speed, the results are more perfect forms, 
smoother lines, and more regular spacing. Thejlirt of the pen 
in the termination of letters, so often indulged in by pupils of 
every grade, may thus be fully corrected. The counting being 
uniform, the motion will correspond to it, and sufficient time will 
be taken to form every line. 

Knowing at precisely what point each member of the class has 
arrived, the teacher may call the attention of all to any error 
liable to occur, while if permitted to consult their own pleasure 
in regard to time, some of the pupils will have completed the 
copy before the error is pointed out, and thus be unable to make 
a practical application of the instruction. 

In conducting an exercise by counting, the class should first 
take the position for writing. The directions here given are 
applicable, either to tracing the copy with a dry pen, or to writ- 
ing it in the exercise or copy-book 

The lines are enumerated in the order in which they occur, 
with the exception of the last line in the letter, which, like the 
first, is numbered " one," because it also forms the first line in 
the succeeding letter. The lines in the letter n are numbered 
thus: " one," " two," " three," "four," "one." The counting 
should be even and regular, and to secure this, it would be well 
for the teacher to write upon the black-board, either before or 
during the exercise, keeping time to his own movements, or 
rather, adjusting his movements to his own counting. 

" Jieady" means eyes upon the work, and pen at the point of 
beginning, that all may commence promptly at the signal " one." 

After a little practice, the pupils may in concert count for 
themselves, or each division may in succession count through a 
single line for the entire class, or one pupil may count for the 
school. In this case, the pupil should be selected who keeps the 


best medium time. All may count silently, and a single pupil 
may give the number of tlie line. For instance, having practiced 
upon the copy until all are familiar with the time and movement, 
■we will suppose the class to have completed four lines. The 
pupil announces " Line fifth, Heady, one." The class continue 
to count silently and write until the line is completed, when the 
pupil again announces ^^ Line sixth. Ready, one," when they 
continue writing as before. This method has the advantage of 
securing the desired result quietly, while the teacher's entire 
attention may be devoted to the supervision of the class. All 
these methods may be used at different times, to prevent the 
exercise from becoming monotonous. 

Names and words may be used in place of numbers, remem- 
bering to keep perfect time ; thus : — " up," " down," " up," 
"down," "light," "quick," "light," "quick," "left curve," 
" straight line," " left curve," " straight line," " right curve," 
&c., omitting the nouns, when the adjectives are perfectly under- 
stood; as, "left," "straight," "left," "straight," "right," &c. 

A certain number of lines may be prescribed to be written 
without counting, and those who complete them first may then 
practice upon a separate piece of paper. 

None but those who have practiced conducting exercises by 
these methods, can understand the excellent effect produced, not 
only in reducing the writing to system, but in cultivating a gen- 
eral habit of order and precision. 



As a motive to induce scholars to Become proficient in tlie art 
of Penmanship, they should be required to present specimens of 
their work once in every two weeks, or, at least, once every 
month. A specimen class should be formed, and only those who 
have manifested the greatest improvement and care should be 
allowed to enter it. If this plan be adopted, very soon every 
member of the class will desire to be represented. 

When the day arrives for the writing of the specimens, the 
pupils should be provided with a sheet or slip of the very best 
paper, and at the close of the lesson, the best exercise of each 
one should be preserved as a specimen. No pupil should be re- 
quired to write, as a specimen, any letter, word, or combination 
he has not previously been taught, and which he has not prac- 
ticed. In advanced classes, sentences, in either prose or poetry, 
may be selected, the pupil writing without a copy or model. 
This is an excellent test exercise, and shows at once the real 
proficiency of the pupil. As a rule, let quality and not quantity 
be the point aimed at. Por the sake of exciting emulation, the 
teacher may afterwards embellish these specimen copies accord- 
ing to the degree of excellence manifested. If these are pre- 
served, by pasting them in neat blank books obtained for the 
purpose, they will serve as an excellent criterion for visitors, or 
members of committees, to judge of the real amount of attain- 
ment made by the several pupils composing the class. 

By proper teaching, and sufficient training, pupils may arrive 
at such exactness and uniformity of execution, that when speci- 
mens of the penmanship of the whole class are collected in the 
same book, it will be almost impossible for them to identify each 



hia own writing. To other persons examining the book, the 
writing will all seem to have" been done by the same scholar. 
This precision, however, wiU not prevent individuality of hand- 
writing, but simply tend towards developing a perfect style. 

From the- perfect standard thus acquired, subsequent practice, 
under the influence of individual character, will bring, about 
that deviation which constitutes one's own peculiar style of 

If this exercise is earnestly entered into, and perseveringly 
carried out, the result wiU not only be a manifest improvement 
in the handwriting of the pupils engaged in it, but the specimen 
books which they prepare will also be a source of gratification 
and interest to them, their parents, friends, and to all who may 
visit the school. 



" Vast Commerce, with her busy hum of men, 
Owea to the sword less homage than the pen." 

Since schools have been established in nearly all the principal 
cities of the country for the purpose of giving instruction in 
commercial sciences and the art of penmanship, a valuable work 
has been accomplished in this department of education. The 
influence thus exerted has been felt, not only in the mercantile 
world, but throughout the length and breadth of the land. 

We can not present a plan for conducting the writing exercise 
in these institutions adapted to every school or class, but will sub- 
mit for the consideration of those interested a few suggestions 
based upon experience and observation. 

In the majority of commercial schools, two general writing 
lessons are given each day, during the spring and summer months, 
occurring upon the programme the first hour in the morning, 
and the last in the afternoon. In autumn and winter a lesson 
is given from seven to nine in the evening, and one of the day 
lessons is discontinued. There being no vacations, pupils may 
enter at any time ; hence the classes are composed of those of 
nearly all ages, and in various stages of progress. 

To direct the efforts of every member of such a class, so as to 
secure certain and satisfactory results, requires not only untiring 
activity and spirit on the part of the teachers, but a constant 
exercise of tact and ingenuity. 


When a student enters the class for his iirst lesson, the teacher 
should request him to write a specimen of his usual Style, observ- 



ing, meanwhile, his manner of sitting at the table, holding the 
pen, and moving his hand, taking pains to correct any faults of 
position at desk. In case his movements are free and uniform, 
it is not advisable to make any important changes in pen-holding ; 
but if his movements are labored or irregular, the first duty is to 
instruct him carefully in regard to the manner of holding the pen, 
requiring him to practice simple movements until the correct 
method is thoroughly understood and firmly established. He 
may then be instructed in the regular movements of -writing, 
and rigidly drilled in the execution of exercises best adapted to 
secure free and well regulated action of the arm, hand and 

After this preparation, the pupil may undertake the study and 
practice of principles, and the systematic formation of letters, and 
easy combinations of letters. 

This coilrse should conduct him through all the small and 
capital letters and the figures, after which he may be regarded 
as competent to deal with any and every copy given for general 
dass driU. He is now not so much dependent upon the teacher 
for instruction, as he is Ml-^otv faithful practice for the acquire- 
ment of a good business hand-writing. 

It is well to have those needing individual instruction seated 
near the teacher's desk, that they may receive assistance from 
him as frequently as their wants demand. 


In giving general instruction to the class, the black-board is 
one of the most important auxiliaries. The teacher should place 
an exercise upon it previous to the opening of the lesson, for the 
pupils to practice upon as soon as they are prepared to write. 
This will ftimish them with immediate employment, and should 
be of such a nature as, in a measure, to prepare them for the 
regular copy. 

Each lesson should be conducted with a view to improvement 
in some special feature. Whether it be slant, shading, the forma- 

class of letters, spacing, or any other 


point, all the copies for that lesson should be arranged specially 
for it, and the teaching should be full and earnest. 

The importance of giving faithful instructions in regard to the 
copies at each lesson, by rules and black-board illustrations, also, 
the value of criticisms, and representations of faults by imperfect 
forms upon the board, need scarcely be urged here. 

In order to give the pupils confidence in their ability to exer 
cute, and to enable them to write well independently of copiesj 
the teacher should occasionally dictate commercial terms, sen- 
tences, forms, figures, &c., requiring them to be written in proper 
form and order, and at a fair rate of speed. 


When large movement exercises are given for discipline, the 
pupil should be required to gradually diminish the 'size of the 
form until it is brought within the limits of ordinary writing. 
For example, it is well to give as an exercise a capital principle, 
requiring the class to begin by making its hight three spaces of 
common ruled paper. 

Having practiced upon it in this way for a time, it should- be 
diminished to two spaces, and then to one, which is nearly the 
practical form. By this course, the learner will not only obtain 
power and freedom in the use of the pen, but he will also learn 
to concentrate them, so as to make them available in writing of 
regular size. 


The teacher will find it to hie own interest and convenience, 
and that of his class, to use both engraved and written copies. 
In giving the earlier lessons in forms of letters, and in writing 
words and sentences, when the pupil should be guided by estab- 
lished rules, carefully prepared engraved copies are evidently the 
best. It is seldom that a teacher, however accomplished a pen- 
man, is able to write a single word precisely in accordance with 
the rules, wlule perfect fac-simile copies are cheaply produced by 
the art of the engraver or the printer, and their use saves a need- 
less expenditure of time and labor. 



, It is but natural, however, that the pupils should desire to have 
their teacher instruct them a part of the time, at least, by exam- 
ple as well as precept, and the well written copy may possess a 
life and beauty calculated to inspire the pupil, especially after he 
has completed what may be considered the primary part of his 
course. Still the use of engraved copies need not be "wholly dis- 
continued. Formerly it was supposed that the spirit and beauty 
of writing could not be preserved in engravings, but recent experi- 
ments have proven to the contrary. Teachers are now enabled 
to supply their pupils with engraved forms, both of accurate and 
free penmanship, and this is especially desirable in cases where 
the teacher is not an accomplished penman. 


Many teachers object to the use of loose paper in a writing 
class under any circumstances, urging that the pupils " scribble" 
upon it, and give little attention to the forms of letters and the 
arrangement of pages, because they have not sufficient respect 
for the material given them to use. Others object as decidedly 
to the use of copy books, declaring them positively injurious in 
their tendency, inasmuch as they afford but little room for prac- 
tice upon each copy, and the pupil is therefore unable to master 
any one point. Further, he is obliged to write, with a slow care- 
ful movement, which cramps the hand and produces feeble 

It is clear to the reader that both plans have their excellencies 
and defects, and, also, tlw.t the faidts incident to one may be cor- 
rected by the use of the other. Hence, a compromise or blending 
of the two, gives a " golden mean" which will insure free move- 
ments, weU-formed letters, and neat pages. 


The writing of business letters is an accomplishment so fre- 
quently brought into requisition in the business world, that no 
properly conducted commercial school wiU send forth a graduate, 



bearing a certificate of his qualifications for discharging the 
duties of the counting room, unless he is proficient in this impor- 
tant branch of education. 

The nature and uses of business letters should be explained, 
and their peculiarities of styles, with various forms, clearly defined 
and illustrated. Specific directions should also be given in regard 
to their mechanical construction, which embraces the style of 
writing, place and manner of beginning, arrangement of the 
body of letters, complimentary closing, signature, neat and con- 
venient folding, writing the superscription, and placing the 

All of these points, however simple they may appear in detail, 
are important items in the education of the commercial student. 
Oral instruction will soon famiharize a class with these charac- 
teristic features, but having learned the theory, it should at once 
be reduced to practice. 

In many cases, pupils will be found deficient in spelling, punc- 
tuation, the use of capital letters, and the structure of -eentences. 
While it may not be the special province of teachers in these 
institutions to supply deficiencies in the earlier education of their 
pupils, they certainly should not fail to give them the benefit of 
at least some practical suggestions, which will prove of immedi- 
ate value to the students, and perhaps induce them to take meas- 
ures for personal improvement in the neglected branches. 

At least one hour of each week should be devoted ]by the entire 
class to the subject of commercial correspondence. After the 
necessary preliminary instruction, the pupils may undertake the 
actual practice of the art. 

For example, at a certain lesson the teacher may wish them to 
produce a letter of introduction. They should first be required 
to have suitable paper and envelopes for the purpose. 

After stating the essential features of such a letter, and read- 
ing one or two specimens, by way of illustration, they should 
each be required to compose one, using such names, dates, and 
locations as they may choose. During this exercise the teacher 
should pass among the pupils, giving them encouragement, cau- 
tions, and individual instruction. "When the letters are pre- 
pared, they should be collected, and after the lesson is over. 


carefully examined by the teacher, and corrected with a lead 
pencil. At a subsequent lesson he may read them to the class, 
and make criticisms upon them for the benefit of all, suppressing 
the names of the writers. The students should be required to 
write and re-write them, until they are capable of producing, 
without assistance, well-written, gracefully arranged, and alto- 
gether creditable letters. 


By this we-mean that systematic management of classes which 
will secure on the part of the students, regular and prompt at- 
tendance, quietness, and close attention to duties while in the 
school-room, and a generous confidence and good feeling, which 
will make work a pleasure as well as an incalculable benefit. 

The plan of keeping a record of attendance, and requiring 
pupils to .give reasons for absences, thus enabling the teacher to 
furnish monthly reports for each pupil, is adopted in nearly all 
well-regulated schools. This was for a long time deemed imprac- 
ticable in commercial or business colleges, but wherever it has 
been fairly tested, it has commended itself to the favor of teach- 
ers and patrons. 

When a pupil enters the class, the teacher should assign him 
a seat, which is to be considered exclusively his own, and he 
should not be permitted to change it without satisfactory reasons. 
Each student will thus feel that he has a home in the school- 
room, and that he is secure in its possession. 

Every attempt to introduce conversation in the class should 
be immediately checked. If permitted, even for a short time, it 
wiE soon counteract all the labor of the teacher, since it is incom- 
patible with good order and improvement. 

Students should not be allowed to leave the class without per- 
mission, and in entering or leaving the room, should be instruc- 
ted to walk lightly, since the slightest jar of the floor disturbs 
the work of an entire class. These wholesome regulations, which 
are considered absolutely indispensable in other schools, are fre- 
quently regarded as of little moment in business colleges, and 


tliiis, for want of tlie good order they insure, the best purposes 
of teachers are often defeated. 

If writing is the business of the hour, that should be the all- 
absorbing interest, and the natural flow of animal spirits, which 
would otherwise find vent in noise and sport, should, by the 
happy illustrations and animated instructions of the teacher, be 
directed to the mastery of the pen. 




This word, coined from three Greek words, cheir, rythmos, and 
gra/pKo, signifies timed hand writing. 

It is intended to designate the application of measured time 
as an agent in securing regular and free movements in pen- 

* Mr. B. G. Folsotn, of the Albany Commercial College, was the first one In this 
country who introduced hirythmography into his classes in penmanship. He suc- 
ceeded in establishing a system of teaching by means of the metronome that was emi- 
nently successful. 



In teaching the art of writing, some obstacles have ever existed 
which do not seem to yield to ordinary influences. Many pupils 
grasp the pen too tightly in the fingers, and write with a rapid, 
irregular, nervous motion, producing shapeless and illegible 
■ forms. Others, slow and laborious in movement, form letters 
perhaps plainly, but roughly, greg,tly taxing mind and body in 
the production of even a few lines. 

The power of the will alone, is not sufiicient to control the 
hand, arm, and fingers in their first wayward attempts upon 
paper. Hence, any good agency that can be brought to its 
assistance, is indeed worthy of consideration. 

The infiuence of time in controlling the motions of individuals, 
suggested the application of this element to the regulation and 
development of movements in writing. 

Every one has noticed how, almost involuntarily, time is kept 
with music by movements of the fingers, hand, head, or feet. 
Marching, dancing, and calisthenic exercises are illustrations 
of the ease and grace with which the movements of the body 
are guided by measured time. 

In its application to penmanship, the metronome is employed. 
This instrument has a pendulum, which is set in motion by clock- 
work, and ticks sufficiently loud to be heard across a large-room. 
There is a sliding weight upon the pendulum, by which the 
instrument may be made to tick fast or slow, as the exercise 
requires. The piano, violin, or almost any musical instrument, 
may be used for measuring time. 

In writing by the metronome, every downward motion is 
associated with the beat of the instrument, while the upward 
motions are made in the intervals. It will be seen that all let- 
ters, long or short, requiring the same number of motions, are 
thus executed in precisely the same time. 

This may appear inconsistent, but it will be observed that the 
pupil naturally compromises the time, by taking the full length 
of the beat for the longer portion of the letter, and a. propor- 
tionate length of time for the shorter. 

In executing only downward motions to the beat of the instru- 
ment, and others in the intervals, there are some letters in which 
both an upward and a horizontal motion will occur in a single 


interval. This, without injuring the form of the letter, tends to 
secure the greatest possible dispatch. 

AU oval and combining exercises, designed for special training 
of the arm, hand, and fingers, may be profitably executed to the 
beat of the metronome. Classes, either large or small, can be 
trained, in a few lessons, to write a given form with a precision 
and harmony pleasing to observe. 

This exercise is a powerful incentive to improvement, each 
pupil feeling that every other one is executing the same form 
that he is, at precisely the same moment of time. 



It is in the power of those who adopt any profession to give it 
a certain character in the estimation of the world, and we justly 
condemn individuals who in any manner cast a reflection upon 
their calling. The ignorance and errors of many who undertake 
the practice of law or of medicine render it necessary for men to 
be wary in their choice of a lawyer or a physician ; but no one 
should therefore withhold confidence or patronage from the 
accomplished and worthy in those professions. It is true that 
many incompetent and iinprincipled teachers of penmanship have 
abused the public trust, but the acknowledged masters of the art 
have been eminently worthy men. Certainly a profession so use- 
ful and so honorable, should win to its ranks the noblest and the 

The want of competent teachers in this department, is deeply 
and widely felt. They are needed in seminaries, academies, com- 
mercial colleges, common schools, and in families throughout the 
country, and while vast numbers of well qualified teachers in other 
branches wait for employment, this demand has never been sup- 
plied. A wide field is also open for travelling teachers. The 
majority of small towns can furnish suitable rooms and accom- 
modations, and would give an accomplished teacher a liberal pat- 
ronage for a course of lessons, and often periiianent employment. 

The universal demand for this special kind of instruction, and 
the amount of good that may thus be done, will prove powerful 
inducements to many to undertake teaching the art of writing, 
but however philanthropic young and ardent teaishers may be, 
very few can aflFord to ignore the question of compensation, and 
when we are able to assure them that services of this kind are 



quite as remunerative as other labors in the school-room, and, in 
many instances, more so, we are presenting an attraction which 
will be readily appreciated. 

As a specialty in teaching, this is, therefore, worthy of careful 
consideration, and will well repay those who have the talent and 
ability to succeed, and are willing to take the time necessary for 

"We address, then, intelligent, enterprising young men, in 
search of a calhng, young ladies of refined tastes, who wish to 
earn their own support, and all who desire to aid themselves in 
securing a Hberal education. Here is a profession which is use- 
ful, agreeable, remunerative, is not so laborious as other forms of 
teaching, and does not so heavily tax the brain, while it still 
calls into requisition the work of careful hands, exquisite percep- 
tions of form, and all the finer qualities of mind and heart. 

What are the qualifications required ? and how shall I prepare 
for the work ? are questions which, at this point, will naturally 
suggest themselves to any one desiring to enter the pro- 

A good English education is indispensable, and in acquiring 
this, it is assumed that elocution and the laws pertaining to lan- 
guage, have received a share of attention. The ability to speak 
with ease, grace, and self-possession, to a class, or to an audience, 
will be found a valuable accomplishment. 

In making special preparation, procure, first, the best works 
upon the subject of penmanship, and become familiar with the 
theory, also, the best copies, and be unsparing in the use of time 
for practice. Make a business of it ; devote at least from three to 
six months to special training. 

If possible, place yourself under the tuition of a recognized 
master of the art, one, also, who is a true gentleman, and whose 
association will, in all respects, prove a benefit. You had far 
better trust to your own untiring energy and perseverance, and 
such adventitious aids as you may be able to procure, than to 
risk the incalculable injury which you may suffer by placing 
yourself under the instruction of a teacher who is either incom- 
' patent or unprincipled. 

Let plain, practical penmanship be mastered first, then consult 


inclination and circumstances in regard to acquiring the orna- 
mental, whicli, though not strictly essential, is stiU valuable, giv- 
ing scope for the exercise of sMU, contributing largely to the 
cultivation of taste, and enabling the teacher to display practical 
writing to the best advantage. 

Ann to attain a high rank in the profession. Do not be con- 
tent with simply being able to teach penmanship, and rest there 
without improvement. There are laurels to be won in this, as 
well ^s in other professions. Tdu will find many popular preju- 
dices to be overcome. In doing this, take care to avoid bravado 
and personalities. Endeavor so to present the subject that its 
merits will modestly, but surely commend themselves to your 
pupils and hearers. Do not be negligent in regard to personal 
appearance, or any graces of manner that essentially belong to 
people of culture and refinement. Let your associations be of 
the best character, and take it for granted that the profession you 
represent has a place among the most honorable callings, and 
that it is one of the most powerftd agents of human progress. 
All that can be done to elevate public sentiment upon this sub- 
ject is well worthy of your ambition. 

In traveling make use of letters of recommendation and intro- 
duction, and by your energy, dignity, and virtues, prove yourself 
worthy of the confidence they may win for you. 

"We would urge it. upon young farmers, and others who have 
long evenings that may appropriately be devoted to the pen, and 
upon young ladies who have a taste and a talent for writing, to 
prepare for this work. 

Many who are teaching in district schools for a moderate com- 
pensation, may make additions to their income, employ leisure 
time profitably, and do inestimable good, by taking charge of 
classes in penmanship. 

No wonderful indications of genius in this direction need be 
demanded as a test of fitness for the work, and no slight difficul- 
ties should stand in the way of preparation. 

Among the many who were so fortunate as to receive instruc- 
tions in penmanship from the originator of the Spenoerian sys- 
tem there have been remarkable illustrations of what may be' 
accomplished by untiring energy, and an indomitable will, even 


under adverse circumstances. For tlie encouragement of those 
wlio may undertake the mastery of the pen,- we give the follow- 
ing instance : 

A young man, a native of the Empire State, was led, not by 
a love of adventure, merely, but by an inherent spirit of enter- 
prise, to the now noble State of California. Though not a 
miner, he located in a mining country. He was possessed of a 
stout heart, was well endowed with muscular strength, and en- 
gaged in various enterprises wherein these were the most impor- 
tant requisites. The cords of wood which he cut and piled were 
counted by the hundred. He lived in one of those singular 
specimens of rural architecture known as a " miner's cabin," the 
interior being graced with a small stone fire-place, around which 
were hung, in all their primitive simplicity, his various cooking 
utensils. Near by were two rough board shelves, containing his 
limited supply of plates, cups and jugs. On the other side was 
a rude pine table, and in one corner lay the bunk upon which 
the hardy laborer soundly slept, after the toils of the day. 

Rising before the dawn, he every morning conned lessons in 
branches which he had no opportunity of acquiring in his ear- 
lier days, then repeated them to himself during the hours of 
severest labor, until every thought had become his own, and in 
this way obtained an education which fitted him nobly for his 
subsequent career, while still earning his bread in the " sweat of 
his brow." 

So brave and persevering a student could not but regret that 
his only means of recording the new ideas gathered day by day, 
consisted in the rude characters he had learned to form in his 

Ever on the alert to use whatever advantages might reach his 
secluded western home, he read one day a circular issued by 
P. R. Spencer, in which he proposed to give lessons in penman- 
ship by letter. Our hero at once wrote to him, soliciting a 
course of lessons. The answer, in the author's own matchless 
chirography, contained the most explicit instructions, and all that 
the pupil needed of encouragement in his now delightful task. 
The correspondence thus established, continued until the beloved 
teacher entered the better land. 


"Without any special natural talent for the art, the young man, 
whose dauntless courage smUed at obstacles, became in time a 
master penman, and was amply qualified to take a high rank as 
a professional writer. Prepared under hi» training, and inspired 
by his example, and the glowing description of his experiences 
during the dark days and nights spent in his cabin and in the 
forest, three score and ten teachers of penmanship were, in a few 
short years spreading far and wide the good seed thus sown, 
upon the Pacific Coast. 

The subject of our sketch does not yet consider the goal won, 
but, having realized a competence by teaching his favorite art 
in California, is now in Europe, learning new languages in which 
to teach the system originated by his lamented instructor. 



"WEiniTG and Drawing are sister Arts, children of Form, 
deriving from her their common element, the line, with all its 
beautiful variations. In giving instructions in the art of writing, 
therefore, the teacher should endeavor, first, to give the pupils a 
clear idea of the indispensable elements of form, by description, 
as well as by illustration, so that no doubt may exist in their 
minds in reference to the meaning of the terms "straight," 
" curved," " vertical," " horizontal," " oblique," " parallel," " an- 
gular," and " oval." But, more than this, he should require his 
pupils to draw the elements represented by these terms, that 
their hands may obtain acquaintance with those principles which 
are of such constant recurrence in the practice of written charac- 

This preliminary instruction is equally required in writing 
and drawing. It is true that the former, in its more limited 
application, dispenses with many exercises of form which sub- 
serve the manifold purposes of art. It is equally true that in 
obtaining an easy, round, and graceful hand, so much practice is 
not required upon the rigid, but more easily measured produc- 
tions of the straight line, as would be found consistent with a 
thorough knowledge of drawing. There is, however, danger 
here of falling into an error. It should be remembered that the 
hands of children, and beginners in writing generally, are 
untrained, and often awkward in their movements. 

*For the materials of this chapter we are indebted to Herman Krusi, Professor of 
Drawing in the public schools of Oswego, who is an eminent teacher of this art. It 
is hardly necessary to state that the public schools of Oswego are numbered among 
the " model schools " of this country, and that here none but thorough masters are 
employed to give instruction in any department. 



To remove these obstacles, it is desirable that recourse should 
be had to drawing, either as a preparatory discipline, or in con- 
nection with writing exercises ; and in the earliest performances 
in each, practice upon the straight line should be deemed of the 
first importance in developing the power of measurement, and 
that firmness of the hand which is indispensable in the subsequent 
more graceful productions of the pen. Grace, when rightly con- 
sidered, is not an attribute of weakness but of strength. 

Drawing is the natural ally of writing, but, as generally taught, 
it cultivates rather formal and slavish imitation, than freedom 
and grace, originality, and inventive power. Now, since these 
principles constitute the soul of good writing, it is essential that 
a system of drawing should be taught in which they receive a 
primary consideration. We present a system which combines 
exercises of simultaneous drawing (or drawing in concert from 
dictation) with others of a purely inventive character, followed 
by miscellaneous drawings for intelligent imitation. 

We will now give some brief explanations of the drawings 
represented upon the Charts, with some suggestions in regard to 
their treatment. 

In Chart No. 1, from Figures 1 to 7, are found the most essen- 
tial geometrical forms produced with straight lines, intended for 
description, as well as for illustration. Figures 1 and 2, repre- 
sent vertical, as well as horizontal lines. It need hardly be said 
that the teacher should require his pupils to practice drawing 
these Hues until they have the requisite evenness and the right 

Care must be taken that the slate or book upon which they 
draw be properly supported, and that the hand find the necessary 
repose. Constant attention must also be directed to the position 
of the body, and the manner of holding the pencil. The slant- 
ing straight line has been omitted in the illustrations for drawing 
upon the chart, because it is found elsewhere in many places. 
We will, however, give some rules in regard to the manner of 
drawing each of the above lines, as pupils are often Jeft to their 
own discretion. 

1. Yertical lines must always be drawn downward. 

2. Horizontal lines must be drawn from left to right. 


3. Lines that are nearly vertical, or nearly horizontal, must 
also be drawn according to the above instructions. 

4. Slanting lines, having an inclination of about 45°, or half 
a right angle, may be drawn either downward or upward, pro- 
vided they incline towards the right, as is the case with all lines 
of this kind which occur in the formation of letters. It 
would be well for pupils to practice upon them by both methods. 

In Figure 10, and the following figures of the same Chart, we 
present exercises designed for simultaneous drawing, or, in other 
words, lessons which can be communicated to the pupils by 
means of dictation. The main advantages of simultaneous draw- 
ing, as contrasted with the usual practice of drawing from copies, 
is this : It requires from the teacher constant supervision over 
every movement of the class, including their position, observance 
of rules, and attention. It would be well to invite one of the 
most intelligent pupils to operate at the black-board, since it is 
convenient for the teacher to appeal occasionally to the design 
while the work is iu progress, and after it is completed. 

The following is an example of the manner in which any of 
the designs upon this Chart may be dictated. Eigure 11 is used 
for illustration. 

1. Draw a square as correctly as you can. 

2. Divide each of its side^ into two equal parts by dots. 

3. Draw a line from each of these dots to the one upon the 
opposite side. 

4. Divide each half of the lines just produced- into two equal 
parts by dots. 

5. Draw from each of these" dots two lines to the nearest cor- 
ners of the large square. 

(How many lines must you have ? Ans. 8. What kind of 
figures have you round the center ? Ans. Trapeziums.) 

6. Now erase the extreme fourths of the lines drawn from the 
middle of the opposite sides of the square. 

It is the duty of the teacher to explain expressions used in 
dictation which the pupils do not at once understand. They 
should generally be required to reproduce the figures thus dic- 
tated from memory, in order to retaia a more vivid impression 
of the manner of their execution. 


It will be observed tbat Figures 10, 11, and 12 are based upon 
tbe division of the sides of the square into two equal parts. 

Figures 13, 14, 15, and 16, of Chart No. 1, are constructed 
after dividing the sides of the square into three equal parts. As 
this is more difficult than the former exercises, this division should 
be practiced first upon a single line. 

After the dictation of several figures like those above, the 
teacher should encourage the pupils to invent similar ones, as a 
test of their own taste and ingenuity. These, or at least those 
which are good, may be afterwards drawn upon the black-board, 
partly for practice, and partly to encourage others to make simi- 
lar efforts. 

Figure 13, of Chart No. 2 represents a regular octagon. Its 
construction is based upon that of a square, intersected by two 
diagonals, by which the bisection of the right angles around the 
center is effected. 

We now give a dictation exercise for Figure 14, of Chart 
No. 2. 

1. Draw a regular octagon, with diagonal lines uniting oppo- 
site corners. 

2. Divide each half of the diagonal into two equal parts, also, 
each side of the octagon. 

3. From the middle of each half of the diagonal, draw lines 
to the nearest middle of each side of the octagon. 

4. Erase the extreme fourth of each diagonal. 

Figures 15, 16, and 17, of Chart No. 2, can be dictated in a 
similar manner. 

Figure 18 is an equilateral triangle. The teacher should define 
the term before permitting the figure to be drawn. The follow- 
ing directions should be given for its construction : 

1. Draw a horizontal line, and bisect the same. 

2. Erect from the point of bisection a perpendicular equal in 
length to the horizontal. 

3. Apply a measure, equal in length to the hoiizontal line, 
from each of its ends to the perpendicular, and mark the point 
of meeting. 

4. Draw lines from this point to the ends of the horizontal 


Figure 19 is a regular hexagon, based upon the equilateral 
triangle. The geometrical solution of this problem, by which 
the figure is inscribed in a circle, is the easiest and simplest for 
conception, but, as in drawings of this kind no compasses or 
rulers are allowed, we give the following directions for its con- 
■ struction as a dictation exercise. 

1. Draw an equilateral triangle. 

2. Divide each of its sides into three equal parts, and unite 
the points nearest to each other by lines which must afterwards 
be prolonged until they meet. The result is what is commonly 
termed a " star." It consists of two equilateral triangles, one of 
them being inverted. 

3. Unite the nearest corners of the triangles by lines. 
Figures 20, 21, 22, and 23 are based upon this plan. Figure 

23 is more intricate than the others, the two larger equilateral 
triangles being composed of six small ones. These may be con- 
sidered as frames linked together. 

"With Figure 24, we begin a new phase of this course, which 
appeals to the intelligent, or cultivated powers of imitation. 

We use the word " intelligent," in order to distinguish this 
exercise from those mechanical or thoughtless operations, which 
are often permitted by teachers of this art. 

In drawing Figure 24, the attention of pupils must be directed 
to the proportion of the sides of the oblong which forms the out- 
line of the looking-glass. The sides are to be to each other as 
one to one and one-sixtli. 

In Figures 25, 26, 27, 28, and 29, similar directions must be 
given in regard to the proportion and direction of lines, before 
the pupils proceed to imitate them. Kulers and compasses should 
not be used, but measurement with the eye should be encouraged. 
These figures will not require special explanation. They present 
a front view of familiar objects, which the pupils copy with due 
regard to their proportions. 

Figures 30, 31, and 32 introduce the drawing of three cubes, 
front, right, and left, in perspective. The teacher should explain 
here one of the principal laws of perspective, that " Lines which 
recede from one base at right angles, seem to converge (approach 


each otter), and tend toward a point opposite the eye, called the 
Point of Light." 

The Figures from 32 to 3T are also illustrations of this law. 
Under favorable circumstances the objects themselves may be 
produced and copied. 

With Figure 37 begins the Second Com'se of Drawing, namely, 
the Curvilinear Course. The curved line is here introduced in 
its simplest form, as derived from the circumference of the circle, 
a part of which is called "the are." It is important that the 
pupils should draw the arc in all directions (See Fig. 37), and in 
other combinations of which Figure 38 supplies an illustration. 

Figure 39. furnishes elementary forms (triangles), which, as' 
well as two-sided, four-sided, and other forms, may be made sub- 
servient to the construction of tasteful designs. 

The figures from 40 to 48 are illustrations of these. The 
teacher will perceive that these designs are suggested by a recti- 
linear outline, and are therefore subject to definite laws of pro- 
portion. The teacher should, by all means, at this point induce 
the pupils to invent other figures to be constructed upon a simi- 
lar basis. 

Figure 48 introduces the circle. This geometrical form, 
although; extremely difficult of perfect execution without the use 
of instruments, can be produced with tolerable accuracy, as in 
Figure 48, by making straight lines of equal length intersect 
each other at their middle, and drawing an equally rounded curve 
over their extremities. These straight lines represent the diam- 
eter of the circle, and the other straight lines in the figure, which 
are drawn over the extremities of these diameters, at right 
angles, are called " tangents " of the circle. 

Figure 49 represents arcs of difierent curvature, subtended by 
the same straight line, the outer curve representing a circle, and 
the inner ones meridians. "" 

Figure 50 defines the size of angles by dividing the circle, or 
rather one of its quadrants into a certain number of parts. For 
instance, if a quadrant is bisected, and a line drawn from the 
dividing point to the centre, that line, in connection with one of 
the radii, will form half a right angle, or an angle of forty- 
five degrees. The measurement of angles is of great importance 


in tlie art of writing, enabling us to determine the obliquity of 

Cbart No. 4, with its outlines of curvilinear objects, needs no 
explanation. We only offer the salutary advice to advance step 
by step, in that progressive way which the Almighty pursued in 
the creation of his works. The pupil should proceed from the 
imitation of those forms inherent in inorganic matter, princi- 
pally straight lines, to those which indicate a living organism, as 
seen in the vegetable kingdom, and still onward to the more per- 
fect and complicated forms of the animal creation, of which the 
■figure of man is the crowning masterpiece. 

Following thus the order of Nature, pupils will find the initia- 
tory course here presented, a fascinating study, which will 
insensibly lead them to seek fo^ greater treasures in this beauti- 
ful field, while the discipline afforded will greatly aid them in 
subsequent more elaborate productions of art. 


[The Lecture on Chirography here inserted, was prepared by Prof. P. E. Spencer 
some years ago, and was delivered by him before many audiences and also a large 
number of the educational institutions of our country. It was thought that many 
who have heard him deliver it, and were personally acquainted vrith him, would be 
glad to recognize it here.] 


Among the many authorities whicli we have eonsulted on the 
subject of Penmanship, the toUowing opinions concerning its 
origin seem to us the most plausible and correct. 

Many of the ancient heathen writers considered writing as a 
gift vouchsafed to man by the gods themselves ; and many en- 
lightened Christians suppose that it was first revealed to man 
from the summit of Mount Sinai, amid the thunders of- the giv- 
ing ot the law and testimony. Others have maintained that the 
art must, in, some degree or shape, have been familiar to Adam, 
our great progenitor, since he named the created objects around 
him, and must have endeavored to perpetuate their names upon 
the earth. To this belief inchne both St. Augustine and Jose- 
phus. Two pillars were said to have existed in Syria in the time 
of the last mentioned author, on which writings and engravings, 
executed by the sons of Seth, the grandsons of Adam, still re- 
mained. Modem critics on history, however, have claimed that 
Josephus here committed an error, and that the Seth of whom 
he speaks must have been the Sesostris of a later time. The 
theory of Josephus was advocated in a celebrated work called 
the Yatican Library, composed by Mutis Pausa, the librarian, 
and published at Eome in 1590. 

Among the heathen nations the question of its origin was 
warmly debated, and the Egyptians and Phoenicians contended 
for the high national honor with zeal and ability. In the third 



book of the poem Pharsalia, the poet alludes to this controversy 
in the following lines : 

PhcEuicians first, if ancient fame speak true, 
The sacred mystery of letters knew ; 
They first by sound, in various lines designed, 
Expressed the meaning of the thinking mind ; 
The power of words by various forms conveyed, 
And useful science everlasting made. 

While, on the other hand, it was claimed for Egypt that there 

. First the marble learned to mimic life. 
The pillared temple rose — and pyramids 
Whose undecaying grandeur laughs at time. 
'Twas thus the sun was shown his radiant way. 

And Heavens were taught to roll. 
There first the mind breathed out in speaking forms 

That made all else immortal. 

It is generally conceded that Cadmus, the Phosnician, intro- 
duced letters into Greece about 1,500 years b. c, and that they 
were then only sixteen in number, to which four were afterwards 
added by Palamedes, and four by Simonides, the poet. 

It is a fact worthy of note and remembrance, that after the 
introduction of letters into Greece the first step in the education 
of Grecian youths was to trace the forms of letters with elegance 
and facility. From Greece, letters were brought to Latium by 
Evander, and if he was honored as a god after his death, and 
an altar erected to his memory on Mount Aventine amid the 
temples of Juno and the Bona Dea, it was a tribute paid by the 
Eomans as much to his scholarship and knowledge of letters, as 
to his piety. 

The forms of letters brought from Greece continued for ages 
nearly the same. Capital letters seem to have been almost ex- 
clusively used, as is evident from the inscriptions on ancient 
monuments and coins. 

At the period when letters first came into use among the Ro- 
mans, written history began to be regarded with great favor. 
Every nation that could, had its own living records of priceless 
value, while the minds that ordained and the hands that moulded 
the forms and imagery that gave enduring existence to national 
glory, were regarded with reverence bordering on idolatry. 


The manner of writing was different in different countries. 
The Greeks originally wrote from right to left and from left to 
right alternately, the Hebrews and Assyrians from right to left, 
and the Chinese from the top to the bottom of the page. They 
wrote upon bark, polished wood, etc., using reed or iron pens. 

Thus much have we thought proper to present concerning the 
origin of this art, the birthplace of which has been claimed and 
contended for by ancient sovereignties as an event conferring the 
highest national honor, but which, dimly traced amid the twi- 
light of antiquity, and involved in doubt by the fiercely contested 
claims of rival nations and contemporaneous historians, still re- 
mains a question unsolved and unsolvable. 

But permit me here to premise, that it does not seem at all 
improbable that an art fraught with such powerful influences on 
" the welfare and destiny of nations, so indispensable in preserv- 
ing their history, and aiding their advance in civilized, enlight- 
ened, and commercial relations, has originated in different 
countries and with different people, but in and with each, under 
circumstances calculated to tax the highest ingenuity and arouse 
the energies of advancing society. The Phoenicians were a 
manufacturing and commercial people. Tyre was the first work- 
shop of the world, and from amid the din of her looms and spin- 
dles went forth her ships laden with the Tyrian purple and the 
precious products of her handicraft. 

It is not improbable, then, that the art of writing originated 
with them, from the necessity of keeping something in the shape 
of a record of their commercial doings, as well as some perma- 
nent description of their vast machinery and mode of employing 
it. Perhaps from this necessity has arisen the saying that 
" writing is the soul of commerce." 

That the art originated in different nations is argued from the 
fact that the primitive mode of writing was different in different 
countries, both in the structure of the forms or characters used, 
and the manner of executing or combining in lines. 

The Hebrews were a distinct and distinguished people, by the 
designation, promise, and appointment of God. At one time 
there arose and flourished among them a leader both the most 
marked and favorable for the preservation of their history, 


There is no account in sacred writ of the recording of an event, 
by means of the art of writiag, up to the time of the perfecting 
of the tables of the law and the testimony. Then, when Moses 
had made his first advent from the mountain, after communing 
with the great Lawgiver duriag forty days, it is said, " And the 
tables of stone were in his hands, and the tables were written on 
either side : and the tables were the work of God, and the writ- 
ing was the writing of God." In another chapter it is said 
these tables " were written with the finger of God." 

The first tables having been broken by Moses in his anger at 
the idolatrous devotions of the Israelites, the Lord commanded 
him to prepare two other tables like unto the first, and come up 
again into the mountaia, where He would write upon the second 
tables all the words of the law. 

Moses obeyed the injunction, and while in the mountain, and 
previously to the completion of the second tables by Jehovah, 
the Lord gave him divers precepts for Israel, and commanded 
Tiim to write them for the benefit of his nation. The Lord also 
wrote upon these second tables all that was embraced ia the 
first, and delivered them to Moses, who returned to give the law 
to his people. 

Again, Moses afterward commanded the children of Israel, 
that on the day they should pass over Jordan to possess the land 
long promised to their fathers, they should set up monuments, 
yea, monuments of enduring granite, in the mountain of Ebal, 
and should write upon them all the words of the law. Thus, 
then, from the tenor of the Scriptures, it appears that the He- 
brews derived the art directly from the Lawgiver of universal 
nature, for the art from the completion of the first tables ap- 
pears to be progressive. First, the finger of the Almighty is 
put forth, tracing deep in the hewn and polished rock, in bold 
and legible characters, the divine will to man. Second, Moses is 
commanded to write, precepts of civil policy for Israel; and, 
third, Moses commands his brethren that when they should 
safely make the passage of the Jordan, and rest from their wan- 
derings and toils in the Land of Promise, they should perpetuate 
the kindness of the God of their fathers by writing upon granite 
monuments the commands and precepts of the Great Lawgiver. 


How apt is the effusion of a modern poet, who, impressed with 
the certainty of the divine origin of the art, exclaimed : 

When twice twelve hundred years had run 
Since first our firmament the Sun 

Illumed with living light ; 
Jehovah's time, Jehovah saw, 
From Sinai's top proclaimed the law, 

And there the same did write. 

Thus saith the sacred page — what then, 
In the great list, can, like the pen, 

A pure Almighty patron quote ? 
What other art can date its rise 
With Him who formed the earth and skie^ 

Both ours, and spheres remote 1 

Think then, no idle art to trace 

The lineaments of thought with grace. 

With ease and beauty of design; 
Since 'tis the art to which alone 
We owe what History makes known. 

And feel the giant march of mind 1 

'Tis this alone that makes us blest 
Of what each sage and sire possessed. 

And opes the living fount of Light ; 
Gives love its charms and laws their away. 
Lends commerce wings, and us a ray 

Of hope to cheer us while we write. 

Thus while we admit that with the Phoenicians, and perhaps 
with the Egyptians and Chinese also, the art of writing origi- 
nated and matured in the ingenuity of the human miad, impelled 
by the wants and necessities of mechanical and commercial in- 
terests, we claim its divine origin as vouchsafed to God's pecuhar 
people, the Hebrews. 

Having thus presented our views as to the origin of writing, 
we next proceed to our second part — the progress of the art from 
the period of its origination. 

From the very nature of the discovery thus made, or the art 
or science thus invented, disclosed, and acquired, it strikes the 
mind at once, that even the forms of society and the permanence 
of ancient governments may be advantageously studied by refer- 
ring to the progress of writing and the readiness with which it 
was executed. With the changes that followed the transfer of 


the Eoman empire to the East, literatiirc changed its character. 
The arts were perverted into abuses, and the gloom of the dark 
ages followed the perversion. 

Astle, the celebrated English antiquarian, gives it as his opin- 
ion, that the Britons were not acquainted with written characters 
until the time of St. Augustine, who visited England during the 
fifth century. At this time the Roman text character was intro- 
duced into England, though it was but slightly disseminated, for 
from this period down to the eleventh century very few persons 
were able to write. 

Between 681 and 1041 the Saxon writing characters were 
gradually disseminated in England, and by their neatness and 
elegance softened in great measure the bold Roman text. 

In 1066 the Norman or court-hand found its way iato Eng- 
land, and became the ruling system employed in the countless 
evidences of feudal tenures. Yet this court-hand, fi'om its pecu- 
liar structure and the manner of its introduction, found little 
favor with the people. It seems to have been in its details a 
root of the engrossing hand. The handwriting of John Quincy 
Adams was partially affected by it in his younger days and ear- 
Her services, while the signature of John Hancock, to the Decla- 
ration of Independence, exempliiies more fully than any other ' 
specimen now before our countrymen, the bold, easy, and elegant 
compound of the Roman and Saxon, which may truly be termed 
the venerated antique penmanship of our country. 

But from the fifth to the eleventh centuries very few persons 
were able to write. The great Charlemagne could not write his 
own name. He did not begin his studies until the age of forty- 
five. Louis the Fourth of France was not more skillful in the 
art of writing than his predecessors and contemporaries. On the 
occasion of his ridiculing Fulke, Count of Anjou, for some dis- 
play of his literary attainments, he received from the count this 
sententious reply, " An iUiterate king is a crowned ass." 

During the ninth and tenth centuries the Latin classics were 
scarcely read, ignorance and stupidity generally pervaded the 
nations of Europe, and contracts were made verbally for want of 
notaries capable of drawing them up. 

In 992 scarcely a person could be found in Rome who knew 


tke principles of writing, nor was there at this time a clergyman 
in England who could write a letter. The very few persons in 
that country who could write, confined themselves mainly to the 
Saxon character. 

Erom the' eleventh to the thirteenth centuries, most of the first 
men of the age were ignorant of th.e art of writing, and learning 
was chiefly confined to princes, from the circumstance that it re- 
quired in those days the treasures of a nation to purchase even 
the few books known to scholars. 

In the thirteenth century the art of writing, by force of the 
precepts and example of the great and the learned, began to 
be more exercised. Copyists of manuscripts were attached to 
the principal universities, and every monastery of note had its 
apartment called the seriptoriwm, which was reserved for the 
business of copying. But notwithstanding the revival of letters, 
a library of two or three hundred volumes was regarded ia those 
days with more interest than the conquest of a kingdom. 

But the art of printing soon gave a new turn to the fortunes 
of philosophy and the progress of the arts. The wooden types 
of Coster effected during the fifteenth century a complete revo? 
lution in literature. ;, 

The art of writing, without abating its importance, has since 
been applied more widely than before to the practical and every- 
day business of life, while printing steps in to multiply the pro- 
ductions of its sister art. 

The purposes of commerce, of epistolary correspondence, of 
indentures and varying records, and the necessity of putting 
down our thoughts as they occur and before they are forgotten, 
for review and improvement in securing maturity of mind, must, 
ever make the art of writing one of inestimable value to man- 
kind, jt 

"We might continue the history of the progress of the art down 
to the present time. On both sides of the Atlantic the aim of 
learned bodies and men of genius, taste, and science, has been 
again and again directed to the subject, in order to produce 
uniformity, ease, and rapidity in the structure of written char- 
acters, while not unknown to fame as European authors appear 
the names of Bailden, Beauchesne, Bales, Kearney, Porta, 


Hugo, Brown, Peety, Coaker, Eichard, Wingate, Mason, 
Comiers, Casley, Champion, Massey, D'Alembert, King, Eobert, 
Erayley, Scott, Milns, Butterworth, Thompson, Smith, Tomp- 
kins, Hodgkin, Astle, and Carstairs, as the depositaries of the 
varied taste of this proud and noble art at different periods. 

In America Jenkins published a work in 1791. He does not, 
except in coarse hand, go into the rules of combination in words 
and sentences. 

Dean published his analytical guide in 1805. This work has 
much to say about large hand as the basis of business characters, 
but contains little that may be reduced to every-day practice, 
although it moves far in advance of the popular preferences of 
the time. 

Wrifford published a work in 1810 on a plan similar to that of 
Jenkins, and also a large work in 1824. It has the prominent 
merit of legibihty. 

In 1824: Huntington published a work which grbatly lacked 
originality. It was principally bank note engravers' style and 
' coarse hand. Guernsey published the acute angular in 1820. 
It had great ease of combination, but lacked body and legibility. 
Since this we have Hewett, Eand, Town, Noyes, Jackson, Gould, 
Jones, and Clarke. 'These, for the most part,' are copy-books, 
but do not aspire to the character of systematized works. "We 
have also Ely, Eeed, Eoot, and some others, exhibiting the tact 
and features of recent times— improvement in everything, ac- 
cording to the speculative or utilitarian apprehensions of various 

We come now to the Semi-angular Spencerian System of 
CTbinmercial, Epistolary, and Eecord Writing, of which we pro- 
p'ose especially to speak. Our intention has been to present to 
lihe public a system 

Plain to the eye and gracefully combined, 

To train the muscle and inform the mind, 

To light the sohool-boy'a head, to guide his hand. 

And teach him what to practice when a man; 

To give to female taste the symmetry it loves, 

Eud, lea^ and flower, for letters, her chaste mind approves. 

No golden boon this humble author claims. 

Utility to embryo raind his aim. 


We may, however, be pardoned for further saying, in regard 
to this system, for the design, arrangement, and details of .which, 
whether correct or faulty, we must be held responsible, that the 
peculiarity of its prominent featui-es consists in selecting from 
nature the elliptic curve or form which nature most delights to 
employ, as adapted to the laws of motion and to animal and 
vegetable life, unfolding proportions most agreeable to the eye— 
for its controlling model — and, in vitew of the pressing use and 
growing importance of the art' as the servant of mind, in its 
restless and multiform aspirations — ^maMng a plain, simple, and 
easy record, business, and epistolary character, the ground and 
leading object at the beginning, indispensable in themselves, and 
independent of coarse hand characters. For its simplicity, ele^ 
gance, and beauty, it draws from nature's ovra peculiar model i 
curve of life and action. The seed, the bud, the flower, the friut,. 
all take the same oval ; the tree, in stem, leaf, branch, and root, 
maintains the same form ; and even the pebbles displaced by 
the little waves. The earth, with all its beauteous forms, the 
stars that adorn heaven's broad arch, are the vast fund from 
which we blend the magic tracings of the pen. 

But whatever be the fate of this or that system, and though 
every author perish without a name, yet the art of writing is not 
only commanding in its origin and history, but is in its graceful 
perfections, beautiful and imposing in its proper imagery. The 
tnie imagery of writing is culled then from the sublime and 
beautiful in nature ; and here the mind cannot but contem- 
plate its advent among the Hebrews, with mingled emotions of 
veneration, awe, devotion, admiration, and pleasure. The sum- 
mit of Sinai is clad with vivid lightnings, and rocked by the 
awful thunders of the Eternal, while amid the conflicting ele- 
ments and blazonry of heaven's artillery, the pen of the Law- 
giver is put forth to give his divine law, and the first tracings of 
this proud art to man. There he grouped in lessened lines, tlie 
sun in his glory, and the moon in her unshorn majesty, the varied 
shore, the straits, the indentations, the sparkling islands, and 
culminating waves of the ocean. He blent the windings of the 
Euphrates and Jordan, with the oaks of Bashan and th^ cedars- of 
Lebanon ; with the rainbow of the cloud he capped the tall pines 


of Idumea, and mingled the ricli shrubbery of Paradise witli the 
spiral firs of Sidonia. Every dot was a star, and every cross" a 
line of light from the eternal Mils ; and when the whole was 
finished, this wondrous art flamed out from the bosom of the 
rock, bearing the solemn and divine injunction of the moral law, 
as rules of action for all mankind. 

Having thus spoken of the origin and liistory of writing, we 
come now in the course of our remarks ,to a consideration of 
Practical "Writing. This is the art of forming letters, and com- 
bining and arranging them into syllables, words, lines and sen- 
tences, by a series of marks or forms, executed by the movements 
of the whole arm, forearm, hand, and fingers. 

Two things are essential to skill in this art ; first, a knowledge 
of the forms and proportions of the letters; second, the power of 
(executing them. 

^lifothing can be more apparent, on the slightest 'examination 
of the subject, than that both these recpiisites are indispensably 
necessary to good penmanship. If a person be deficient in a just 
apprehension of the proper forms or imagery of the art, although 
he may possess the most inimitable freedom and ease, in the use of 
the pen, his performance will be unsatisfactory, from its want of 
just proportion and symmetry of parts. If he be lacking in the 
power of execution, however correct the form of each particular 
letter may be, there wiU be no freedom or grace in the general 
'aspect of his writing. 

. When a man would speak well, he must first conceive clearly 
the'ideas which he desires to express ; and if he^would write well, 
he must have distinctly impressed on his mind, the characters 
which he means to exhibit. To illustrate the second essential of 
good writing, viz., power of execution, by the same analogy, 
however just and clear a man's conceptions may be, if his utter- _ 
ance be labored, slow, and timid, his discourse will be imperfect 
and unsatisfactory ; in like manner; if the letters be weU formed, 
but combined and arranged without ease or gracefulness, the 
writiag will never be thought beautiful or pleasing. By long 
experience and observation in teaching, we are induced to believe, 
that but a small proportion of minds, are deficient in the facidty 
of apprehending proportionate forms, and happy blending of 


imagery, reflected through the medium of the eye. Such appre- 
hension is generally developed with the greatest quickness, par- 
ticularly when the- judgment is assisted in its decisions by the 
active power and happy opportunity of comparison presented. 
Imagery, commended to our favorable notice and selection when 
young, by those we love, and on whose judgment we depend, or 
left unforbidden to voluntary selection amid our schoolboy scenes, 
when the young heart first begins to revel amid Nature's varied 
charms, and drink the smiles from friendship's sunlit brow, makes 
a deep and lasting impression, which time, and toil, and age can 
scarcely mar, and never obliterate. Such is our nattire. It is 
the poetry as well as the reality of our existence, embalming the 
scenery we Joved in the innocent days of untried being. 

It is the preference of early associations which we hear echoed 
in the plaint of "Byron, when removed from the wild hiUs of 
Scotland, that reflected their broken and rugged imagery on the 
plastic memory of his childhood, he " sighed for the mountains 
of dark Lochnagar" ; and in the inimitable tribute of Campbell 
to the magic of Burns' sylvan wreath, where he makes the 
Gaelic soldier, encamped beside the distant Indus, and resting on 
his arms, and listening to the distant sound of the Scottish pipe, 
breathing out the home-bred notes of Lochaber on the midnight 
air, sweetly recall the scenes that blest him when a child — 

"And glow and gladden at the charms 
Of Scotia's hills and waterfalls. 

The doctrine sought to be inculcated is, the duty andT necessity 
resting on parents, guardians, and teachers, that the proper 
forms which they are desirous of seeing them bring forth on 
paper, in the shape of a well-ordered handwriting, should be 
early impressed on the minds of those under their charge. If 
the prejudices and preferences of childhood and youth abide 
through life, how requisite that such preferences should fix on 
forms best suited to life's active business. Better is it for the 
novitiate in the art of writing to sit down alone with his mate- 
rials, and copy the moon in all her phases ; borrow from the ser- 
pentinings of the brook that meanders at his feet ; bring the Lom- 
bardy poplar to his aid ; follow the curve of the pendant willow 
from tendril to stamen, and bind the whole with the undulating 


folds of tlie woodbine, and then call it chirography, tlian depend 
for a model of his hand on those miserable productions, that 
without form or comeliness, pain and perplex, and against the 
worship of which, there is no command, either specified or im- 
plied. He would thus have more of nature, and therefore more 
of the true art of writing. 

Thus, the proper images of writing being implanted in the 
mind, by having them early before the eye, are adopted by the 
judgment, after comparison has done its labor and doubt has 

The power to bring forth such imagery on paper is latent in 
the arm, forearm, hand, and fingers, and can only be developed 
by exercises that affect these auxiliary localities, and bring a 
fourfold power to act conjointly with ease and skill. 

If the curved movement, direct and reversed, be not fully 
practiced by the whole arm, the capitals will, in their execution, 
lack ease, beauty, grace, and harmony. 

If the direct movement, be not fully practiced by the whole 
arm, the extended class of letters will be labored, rough, and of 
uncertain slope and shade. 

Without a free and unobstructed constant horizontal move- 
ment from left to right, through the whole Kne, the writing 
win be wanting in harmony of slope, ease, and truthfulness of 

But when all these movements are practiced fully and syste- 
matically, all the muscles from the shoulder downwards, develop 
themselves rapidly, and power is gained over the pen to bring 
forth the adopted imagery of the mind, in aU the grace and ele- 
gance, that spring from just proportions and easy execution. 

Practice, to be sure, is indispensable in bringing to perfection 
any art, science, or profession. 

The pupil must not expect to be able at once to execute what 
he fuHy comprehends. Patience and energy are required to 
attain a thorough and perfect command of hand. There is no 
royal road by which idleness and indifference may find their way 
to a goal, which is only to be reached by diligent and well- 
directed application. The only process really short, is such as 
Is made so, by commencing in a right manner from the outset, 


securing the advantage of tlie instructions of an experienced 
teacher, till the object is accomplished. And when the ohject 
is accomplished, how beautiful and imposing are the speci- 
mens of art which the proficient is able to produce ! The eye 
glances along the well- written page with as much pleasure as it 
rests on a beautiful grove, when nature and art have unitedly 
tasked- themselves to blend the greatest variety with the ut- 
most symmetry. And as we travel through the rich scenery, 
from whose depths breathe out the sympathy of soul, the 
spirit of inquiry, and the voice of love and friendship, we spon- 
taneously exclaim — 

Art, Commerce, and feir Science, three, 

Are sisters linked in love ; 
They travel air, and earth, and sea, 

Protected from above. 
There's beauty in the art that flings 

The voice of friendship wide ; 
There's glory in the art that wings 

Its throbbhigs o'er the tide. 

Having treated at length of the origin and progress of writing, 
and of the beautiful and imposing imagery of the art, and how 
secured, perhaps we ought now to pause, conscious that the 
characteristics of the mind to which we address ourselves, are 
alive to the importance and usefulness of chirography. 

But the time of sufficient heat is the proper one for the addi- 
tion of fuel to secure and preserve a caloric equilibrium. "We, 
therefore, crave your further patience, while we say something 
of this art in its indispensable uses. Though aU admit the 
benefits conferred by it, in some shape, yet the lovers of its 
beauties have to contend against prejudice even in high places; 
while we advocate the principle of Henry Clay and Stephen 
Girard, and all men of taste and system, viz., that whatever is 
worth doing at all is worth doing well. 

We are also aware that it requires no small amount of pa- 
tience to endure the loss of time, and the perplexity incident to 
dealing and corresponding with too many of our professional 
men, and men of business, because their performances with the 
pen, lack the grand essential of legibility, which a little syste- 
matic attention in their school-boy days, and early education 


miglit have obviated ; and some of these, while robbing their 
correspondents and customers of much of their valuable time in 
deciphering their shapeless conceptions and monstrosities, will 
sneer at any attempt at legible and elegant writing. We reply 
to these sovereign republicans in the language of Count Anjou 
to Louis lY. Their sneers are harmless shafts, for the enlightened 
discriminations of an intelligent people, cannot be easily brought 
down to worship at the shrine of awkwardness, nor to admit 
that ignorance of an important branch of education, is either an 
accomplishment or virtue. 

" Thus bubbles on the sea of matter borne — 
They rise, they break, and to that sea I'eturn.'' 

The remark has been often made, and commends itself to 
every man of discernment ; and all who are resolved to know, 
and faithfully discharge all the duties of life — that those bless- 
ings which are most valuable, are so common, that they are en- 
joyed unnoticed. 

Thus air, without which life cannot be sustained beyond a few 
moments ; water, so essential to animal and vegetable comfort, 
growth, and existence ; so important, also, for all the purposes of 
the useful arts and philosophical experiments; iron, without 
which mechanism and husbandry must languish — all these are 
hourly enjoyed, and almost wholly disregarded, and so with 
many is the art of writing. But strike it from among the arts, 
and where are we ? 

.Then would the lamp of history cease to burn. 
Then Science and all arts must wither. 

Then, if History, Science, Commerce, and all the arts, joined 
to accumulated intelligence, are worth preserving, preserve the 
art of writing, and by so doing we preserve all else. 

The bard of Avon well understood its sacred use, when he 
exclaimed — 

■' The poet's eye in a fine phrensy rolling 
Doth glance from heaven to earth, from earth to heaven ; 
And as imagination bodies forth 
The forms of things unseen, 
The poet's pew turns them to perfect shape, 
And gives to airy nothing 
A local habitation and a name." 


The art of writing is the preservative of history. Mapped out 
before us through this agent, the old world lies like a landscape 
in the light of summer. The paternity, the rise, progress, 
changes, and decliiie ; the policies, subversions, defeats, and tri- 
umphs of the empires and dynasties of the eastern hemisphere, 
stand out in bold relief, to the searching eye of the inquiring 
mind, for the historic pen has faithfully performed its task, even 
back to the bowers of primeval Eden. The prose and poetry of 
any country constitute its literature. The literature of the old 
world is ours — ours through the intervention of the pen, and the 
recorded judgment of successive generations. But when we turn 
our eye to the western hemisphere, and inquire for its literature, 
the voice that responds to our inquiry is limited within a period 
of four hundred years, while a shroud of impenetrable darkness 
lies sullen and relentless over half a world, through the long 
age of fifty-five centuries beyond. Yet the crumbled ruins of 
mighty cities, the forest-crowned pyramids, the mighty bulwarks 
of defense that dot our entire continent, are the unmistakable 
footprints of a numerous race, and belligerent powers that held 
ambitious sway from ocean to ocean, in the distant ages of an- 
tiquity. What know we of these save by fitful flights through , 
the broad field of conjecture, without pole-star or compass? 
What know we of these, save what the oldest of the Six Nations 
knew, who, in reply to the inquiry of " what said Indian tradition 
of these monuments 1" replied, " Our fathers, when they came to 
this country, found these monuments of a perished race, as they 
now are ; when, and by whom, they were reared they knew not, 
and we know not." 

Who does not feel a weary void, aching to the very center of 
his inner man, over this broad and darksome blank of our coun- 
try's history ? and even yet, hope against hope long deferred, that 
on some smooth rock, deep buried in our soil, or surged by our_ 
surrounding waters, or high amid heaven's own blue clouds, 
and crowned with eagle's nests, on the bare summit of some 
lofty mountain, the deep tracings of some assigned and historic 
Moses, may yet be revealed, by the true tracings of the redeem- 
ing pen, something to tell us of those that once here ruled and 
reigned ; of those who ploughed our seas, lakes, and rivers, and 


4,000 years ago, gathered in numerous council on the site of 
some now beautiful, populous, and flourishiag city ! Could 
such an unmistakable and authenticated record meet the eye of 
some enterprising publisher, and their forthcoming prospectus 
announce to the American people, in a manner to gain their 
credence, that the veil would soon be hfted, and the whole of 
American history be given to their longing aspirations, what a 
thrill of exultation, would move the millions of our country over 
the final triumphs of the recording pen ! But, beyond the first 
visit of the noble Genoese captain, no pen is found to fill up the 
gloom of the past ages of American history ; no reliable record 
leads the inquiring eye to trace the rise and progress and the 
fall of empires or kingdoms, but silence and impenetrable 
oblivion rest over the scenes of the !N'ew World. 

Again, as the art of writing is useful in recording and preserv- 
ing history, it also atones for the fallibility of the memory. 
Were the memory of man retentive of all the transactions of 
life worthy of record, it might seem that its perfection would 
obviate the necessity of the pen. But when we consider the 
diverse, and adverse views, by which the human mind is ac- 
tuated, that self would often monopolize to self, whatever 
is desirable in the eye of ambition or avarice, to the exclusion 
of right in others, we see the necessity of a record, to guard 
our equality and rightful claiins, even in the case of a perfect 

But the memory of man is uncertain and imperfect. The 
business of yesterday even, is in part forgotten ; that of a month 
ago, has left but few traces, while that of a year, is almost wholly 
obliterated from the recollection. 

The aged, it is true, will repeat much that belongs to child- 
hood and youth ; but how small is that amount, compared with 
all that is of note in a long and busy career ? It is like the 
gleanings of a wheat field, over which has passed the sickle of a 
careful reaper. 

The memory of the profound statesman is unable to retain in 
their details, the laws he has originated, advocated, and assisted 
to enact ; nor can the judicial magistrate call to mind the evi- 
dence adduced in succession, in cases the most important in the 



field of litigation. They turn to the record as a lamp to guide 
them to a knowledge of what they have done, and what they 
should do. The philosopher may successfully range the hroad 
field of nature, and extend his inquiry and knowledge to her 
arcana ; solve all questions • of science and morality ; rend the 
garb from false theory, and with the perspective of certainty 
gaze on truth through all the round of morality, science, and 
nature ; but of what avail to others are all his successful lueubrar 
tions without the use of chirographyl Oral communicatiois 
soon become corrupt and traditionary, and the labors and dis- 
coveries of the most exalted and tireless genius, may be lost to 
the world. But the pen comes in to make record of his work; 
contemporary readers imbibe certain and substantial light from 
his investigations, and posterity regards him as its benefactor. 
Hence, not in vain was strung the immortal lyre of Homer, nor 
did the labor and genius of !N"ewton prove of no avail. 

Feeble and uncertain, would be the eflGorts of the merchant^ 
in the transaction of business, were he denied his invoice, 
journal, and ledger. Without these, and the pen to execute 
with, he would be like a ship at sea, with no chart, rudder, or 

Besides commercial and statistical correspondence, interchange 
of sentiment and feeling depends on the use of the pen. 

In the versatility of human afi'airs, we discover the existence 
of a general law, that the genius of the world is change. 

In the' common events of life, friend is separated from friend, 
and those bound together by the silken bonds of love and con- 
sanguinity, are removed and separated by the operation of this 
immutable laAV. The fireside that is cheerful to-day, in a year 
may find many, if not all, of its members scattered abroad in 
different and distant lands. Still the affections cherished when 
together, bind friend to friend when separated, and a strong, 
deep, and absorbing desire to be still acquainted with the friends 
and kindred spirits, from whom we are sundered, is the result of 
such affection. How welcome, then, is the messenger from 
hearts far away from scenes of early and cherished devotion 1 
We recognize the well-known traces of the friendly hand so often 
grasped in ours, before we break the seal ; and as we peruse, we 


spotaneously bless the means that annihilates space, and meets 
at the intervention of distance. 

In short, the pen engraves for every art, and indites for every 
press. It is the preservative of language, the business man's 
security, the poor boy's patron, and the ready servant of the 
world of mind. 

But "we must hasten to a conclusion. Before the invention of 
the art of writing, the voice of wisdom perished, not merely with 
the sage by whom it was uttered, but with the very breath of 
air on which it was borne. 

Art came to the aid of natural capacity, and devised a method 
of imprinting on a material substance an intelligible sign, not of 
things, but of sounds forming the names of things ; in other 
words, the art of writing was invented. With this invention the 
mind of man was almost recreated. 

Before this art was invented, the voice of man, in its utmost 
stretch, could be heard by only a few thousands. 

Afterwards man could stamp his thoughts on a roll of parch- 
ment, and they would reach every city and hamlet of the largest 
empire. Before this invention the mind of one country was 
estranged from the mind of all other countries ; for almost all 
the purposes of intercourse, the families of man might as well 
not have belonged to one race. 

Afterwards wisdom was endowed with the gift of tongues, and 
spake by her interpreters to aU the tribes of kindred man. 
Before this invention, and nothing but a fading tradition, 
constantly becoming fainter, could be preserved by the mem- 
ory of all that was spoken or acted by the greatest and wisest 
of men. 

Afterwards thought became imperishable — immortal. 

"We have thus represented our ideas in regard to the origin, 
history, and progress of the art of writing ; we have also spoken 
of its uses and benefits. With this delineation of the subject, 
we cannot but conclude, that if fairly and honestly viewed, it 
must rank side by side, with all the high and noble arts, which 
have done so much to beautify and adorn the world, and have 
contributed so greatly to the refinement and pure intellectual 
development of mankind. He who loves nature and admires all 


that is truly beautiful, wiU find in the prosecution and study of 
this art, something to enlarge and develop the highest faculties 
of the mind — something to make him more interested in that 
which pertains to the welfare of those around him. Let, then, 
every one seek to gain a practical knowledge of this art, and a& 
long as he liv£s will it he to him a source of pleasure, profit, and